People wear masks in Beijing's smog

Photo: Feng Li/Getty Images

China's air pollution problem

Beijing residents ride past a large panda sculpture on Jan. 23 while wearing masks to shield themselves from the overwhelming dense smog blanketing the massive Chinese city.

China's smog crisis continues to plague Beijing residents and tourists as this past week's pollution levels reached almost 40 times the limit recommended by the World Health Organization, prompting the government to propose new regulations that could shut down nearby factories and better control car emissions.

Rapid industrialization combined with weak environmental regulations is to blame for Beijing's smoggy woes, which become more concentrated in the winter due to climate patterns and an increased demand for coal-powered heat.

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Tourists walk in the smog

Photo: Feng Li/Getty Images

Hazy tourism

A tourist and her daughter wear masks on Jan. 23 while visiting Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

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Bicyclist rides through heavy smog

Photo: Feng Li/Getty Images

Smoggy joyride

A woman wearing a protective mask bicycles down a smoggy street on Jan. 23 in Beijing.

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Person walks through a smoggy tree-lined path

Photo: Feng Li/Getty Images

Shrouded in pollution

A man takes a stroll along a tree-lined path shrouded in heavy smog on Jan. 23 in Beijing.

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