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EPA/Diego Azubel
The view from the Bird’s Nest Stadium, Aug. 26.
PARADE BLUE

Photos: Amazed Beijing residents are sharing pictures of the city’s clear blue skies

Ahead of China’s celebration of the Allied forces victory in WWII on September 3, cars have been banned and factories shut in attempt to lift the polluted cloud that often hangs over China’s capital city. The result? The cleanest air on record, for eight days straight.

Rather than the thick fog of diesel smoke and other pollutants that often hangs over the city, skies have become a remarkable shade of blue—so remarkable that Beijing residents and visitors are sharing images of the city on Sina Weibo with the hashtage #ParadeBlue. Here’s one from Beijing’s World park:

http://www.weibo.com/234518294
Beijing’s World Park

“We’ve turned into the United States,” one commentator wrote under the photo. Other photos from the same user (registration required) 国安国米, or Guoan Inter Milan (a mix of two football clubs), shows more of the same park under stunning blue:

http://www.weibo.com/234518294

Another Sina Weibo user, Girl Han likes to smile (registration required) posted photos of the woods overlooking the Lingshan Mountain region, adjacent to Beijing:

http://photo.weibo.com/1955102692/albums
Beijing’s Mount Everest is in the Lingshan Mountain area.

“You didn’t add a filter on your camera?” a commentator asks. “You shot it with your phone? Oh my god!”

And the Tiananmen Square at dusk features a beautiful shade of dark blue, judging from a photo posted by Sina Weibo user, Feed the monster:

http://photo.weibo.com/1458675074/albums
Tiananmen Square

The clean air has also been a boon for athletes competing in the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium, better known as the “Birds Nest” in Beijing:

Reuters/Phil Noble
Michael Schrader of Germany competes in the long jump.

Naturally, many Beijing residents used to heavy pollution are overjoyed by the change. But some can’t help pointing out how fleeting it is. “Beijing’s blue sky comes so suddenly. I am so delighted,” one blogger commented. “But it will be gone at any time, just as suddenly as well.”

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