“You can’t see your own fingers in front of you,” Harbin’s official news site noted.
The smog not only forced all primary and middle schools to suspend classes, but shut the airport and some public bus routes, the official Xinhua news agency reported, blaming the emergency on the first day of the heating being turned on in the city for winter. Visibility was reportedly reduced to 10 meters.
The smog is expected to continue for the next 24 hours.
Air quality in Chinese cities is of increasing concern to China’s stability-obsessed leadership because it plays into popular resentment over political privilege and rising inequality in the world’s second-largest economy.