Lawyers suing Beijing officials for air pollution


BEIJING — Lawyer Cheng Hai has a list of compensation demands from Beijing authorities over the city’s smog: 65 yuan (US$9) for having to buy face masks, 100 yuan (US$15) for seeing a doctor for a sore throat and 9,999 yuan (US$1,500) for emotional distress.

“Some people might think that air pollution is inevitable with economic development, but they are wrong,” said Cheng, 64, one of a group of lawyers suing Beijing. The lawsuits demonstrate the mounting frustration of China’s middle class at the country’s notoriously bad air.

Mainland China’s authoritarian Communist government heavily discourages protests and other forms of action, and at least one of the initial five lawyers in the case appears to have withdrawn his lawsuit under pressure from local authorities.