Beijing’s new fan club


Two years ago an artist spent a hundred days wandering Beijing with an industrial vacuum cleaner, sucking up the air. When he was finished, he compressed the dust he had collected into a brick of pure pollution – the first work of art of its kind.

Continuing the trend of novel solutions for one of Beijing’s most pressing problems, an inventor named Du Honglai has filed a patent for a new means of dispersing smog: he’ll use fans.

It won’t just be Du deploying them, in fact. His patent calls for 15 million people to grab a fan and wave it in the same direction to waft pollution away.

According to, Du calculates that such a spectacle could generate wind speeds of up to 68km/h. When asked if he really believed the scheme would work, Du seemed offended, rebuking the reporter. “Otherwise I would not have taken so much time and effort to do the research,” he retorted.

The China Daily wonders whether Du might have overlooked the logistical challenges of deploying 15 million people in unison, although Du’s suggestion is that the government should use radio, TV and text message to assemble the task force at designated sites when the smog sets in.

“The method is low cost and effective, without causing secondary pollution to the environment,” he insisted.

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