If you can't breathe, what else matters? China is truly at the crossroads...
Sometimes, it takes an artist to perfectly make a point. Liang Kegang lives in Beijing, where the air is just horrible, and after spending a business trip in the south of France (a well-deserved period of respite for his lungs, no doubt), he came back with a small item to protest the smoggy conditions in his home country: A small sealed glass jar of clean Provence mountain air. To really drive his point home, he auctioned the jar before a group of about 100 Chinese artists and collectors and was paid 5,250 yuan for it ($845 at today's exchange rate).
"Air should be the most valueless commodity, free to breathe for any vagrant or beggar," Liang said in an interview. "This is my way to question China's foul air and express my dissatisfaction."
Things have gotten so bad that even the authorities can't bury their head in the sand anymore. Pollution is now one of the top causes of social unrest in China, and even Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said that it is a "major problem" and he wants thegovernment to “‘declare war’’ on smog by removing high-emission cars from the road and closing coal-fired furnaces.