News / Asia

    Zuckerberg's Run in Beijing's Toxic Air Stirs Chinese Public

    A computer screen displays the social media posting by Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook in Beijing, China, Friday, March 18, 2016.
    A computer screen displays the social media posting by Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook in Beijing, China, Friday, March 18, 2016.
    Associated Press

    A photo of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg jogging Friday morning in downtown Beijing's notorious smog has prompted a torrent of amusing comments and some mockery on Chinese social media.

    Zuckerberg is a favorite personality among the Chinese public, despite Facebook being banned in the country alongside other overseas social media platforms. He's also become somewhat notorious for persistent yet so far futile efforts to woo leaders enforcing China's strict online censorship.
     
    The young tech tycoon is in Beijing to attend an economic forum over the weekend, when some of the world's business and finances leaders will rub shoulders with senior Chinese politicians.
     
    Zuckerberg posted the photo to his Facebook page of him and five others running through Tiananmen Square with the famous gate to the Forbidden City imperial palace in the background. None wore the air-filtering face masks that are ubiquitous in Beijing and other Chinese cities.
     
    At the time the photo was taken, Beijing's air pollution index was well into the hazardous zone at about 15 times of the level considered safe by the World Health Organization. Health experts urge people to avoid any outdoor activities on such heavily polluted days.
     
    Chinese residents wondered aloud whether Zuckerberg's jog was yet another gesture aimed at pleasing the Chinese authorities who claim they are gradually winning the battle against air pollution.
     
    Previous efforts include Zuckerberg's telling China's top Internet official on a visit to Facebook's California headquarters in 2014 that he was engrossed in Chinese President Xi Jinping's collected speeches. The same year he famously engaged his audience in halting Chinese at a forum at prestigious Tsinghua University while avoiding mention of the government ban on Facebook.
     
    "Kissing up?'' commented Tom Wang, a Chinese environmentalist, who reposted Zuckerberg's running photo and added a graphic of Beijing's air quality readings from Friday morning.
     
    Journalist and avid runner Peng Yuanwen joked that Zuckerberg's lungs had single-handedly filtered Beijing's smog after the city's air quality noticeably improved by early afternoon.
     
    "The human-flesh smog vacuum is better when it's American-made,'' teased Peng, playing on a joke among Beijing residents that they filter the city's air with their lungs by inhaling harmful particles.
     
    Others noted that Zuckerberg's run took him through the square where hundreds of thousands of Chinese students gathered in the spring of 1989 to demand democracy. The movement ended in the early hours of June 4 after troops and tanks crushed all resistance, killing hundreds, possibly thousands of protesters.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora