China smog: Shijiazhuang man attempts to sue government

A cyclist wears an anti-pollution mask at a traffic junction on a busy street amid thick haze in Beijing on Tuesday For days, northern China has been enveloped in a thick haze of pollution

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A resident of the northern Chinese city of Shijiazhuang is reported to be trying to sue the local government over high levels of air pollution.

The man, Li Guixin, filed a complaint with a district court in Hebei province near Beijing.

A local newspaper said he was demanding the city's environmental bureau do more to control the blanket of choking smog that often settles over northern China in the winter months.

He is also demanding compensation.

He says he has spent money on face masks, an air purifier and a treadmill he uses to exercise indoors when the pollution is particularly bad.

The court is currently deliberating on whether to accept the case, which has already been rejected by several higher courts.

'Economic losses'

Mr Li's lawyer declined to make any comment when contacted by the BBC.

But Mr Li told the state-run Yanzhao Metropolis Daily: "The reason that I'm proposing administrative compensation is to let every citizen see that amid this haze, we're the real victims."

"Besides the threat to our health, we've also suffered economic losses, and these losses should be borne by the government and the environmental departments because the government is the recipient of corporate taxes: it is a beneficiary," he was quoted as saying.

Shijiazhuang, about 260km (160 miles) south-west of Beijing, is a busy industrial base - a centre for steel and chemical production.

Smog levels regularly top levels considered hazardous by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Severe pollution has hit much of northern China for the past six days, with some particle readings well over 10 times the internationally accepted safety limit.

The WHO's China representative admitted the thick smog had resulted in a "crisis".

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