Chinese elementary school begins an 'anti-smog martial arts' programme

The programme is designed to 'reduce the residual gas in the body's internal organs'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 December, 2013, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Friday, 13 December, 2013, 10:36pm

In the latest Chinese effort to combat air pollution, an elementary school in Hebei has instituted a programme of “anti-smog martial arts”.

Designed to strengthen the lungs, improve overall fitness and enable children to withstand the terrible smog present in Hebei’s capital city Shijiazhuang, the martial arts programme is composed of a set of 23 specific exercises that are “aimed at preventing the impact of smog on the body … by effectively reducing the residual gas in the body’s internal organs,” The Beijing News reported.

Wei Huanqiang, deputy director of Shijiazhuang City Elementary, spent two months creating the programme. He told reporters that the martial arts regimen was necessary after the city’s board of education required schools to cancel all outdoor sports activities.

Despite his good intentions, the programme has quickly drawn ridicule from members of China’s online Sina Weibo community, who argued that the school had to be “kidding to assume that a simple workout could reduce the effects of smog”.

Liu Erjun, a physician from the First Affiliated Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Hebei Medical University, told The Beijing News that while exercise could strengthen the body and improve overall immunity, there was no way to tell how effective the school’s anti-smog martial arts programme actually was, especially in light of the city’s crippling air pollution.

Eastern China has been covered in smog for the last week, and the air quality in nearly 80 cities has been rated above 200, indicating “heavy” or “severe” pollution.

Schools and companies have dealt with the conditions by suspending outdoor activities and allowing employees to work from home, but Shijiazhuang City Elementary’s martial arts programme is the first of its kind.