"Most Chinese Cities Hiding Vital Pollution Data From Public"

"Most city governments on the mainland withheld vital information on pollution from the public last year, with many scaling back their disclosure to protect polluters as economic growth slowed, two major environmental organisations said in a study released in Beijing yesterday."

"The 10 most secretive cities were Zaozhuang in Shandong , Datong and Yangquan in Shanxi, Xiangyang in Hubei , Karamay in Xinjiang, Changchun and Jilin city in Jilin, Zhangjiajie in Hunan , Jinzhou in Liaoning and Ordos in Inner Mongolia. They disclosed barely any environmental information, such as the amounts of pollutants discharged or the identities of major polluters.

Datong and Yangquan are among China's largest coal and power production centres and were responsible for much of the smog that shrouded many parts of northern China in recent months. Jilin, Changchun and Jinzhou, in the northeast, are centres of heavy industry.

The Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing and the Natural Resources Defence Council in the United States have been monitoring the environmental transparency of 113 major mainland cities since 2009, releasing an annual pollution information transparency index."

Stephen Chen reports for the South China Morning Post March 29, 2013.

Source: South China Morning Post, 03/29/2013