As has become custom when he visits an international city, Mark Zuckerberg shared a photo on Facebook of him and his team taking a run, as part of his “Year of Running” project in which the Facebook CEO committed to running at least one mile every day in 2016.
However, when he posted a shot of the Facebook team in a grey-looking Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China on Friday, Zuckerberg was met with criticism for not wearing a mask as they jogged through the smoggy city.
Zuckerberg wrote: “It’s great to be back in Beijing! I kicked off my visit with a run through Tiananmen Square, past the Forbidden City and over to the Temple of Heaven. This also marks 100 miles in A Year of Running. Thanks to everyone who has been running with me — both in person and around the world!”
In the comments, Facebook users raised concerns about his health due to the air pollution.
Yiu Sing Lee wrote: “How can you use fb in China? It is forbidden by the government. Plus the smog in beijing is too serious and harmful for running.”
Some commenters also questioned how Zuckerberg was able to post to Facebook from China, where the social networking service is blocked by the Chinese government.
“黃洋達” wrote: “How did you get pass the ‘Great Firewall’?”
Zuckerberg and the team were also criticised for not wearing masks on Twitter:
while mark zuckerberg is promoting running as a healthy habit, not wearing masks when the air is heavily populated is not a right message.
— MH Zhou (@ZMH1986) March 18, 2016
Zuckerberg running through BJ in heavy smog without a mask is deeply cynical. He’ll run for a day and then go back to a place with good air.
— Christoph Rehage (@crehage) March 18, 2016
In December, Beijing raised its first red alert over air pollution in the Chinese capital. The latest “Air Quality Index” reading for the city still was at an “unhealthy” level when Zuckerberg and the team were running through, according to the US Embassy in Beijing, which calculated the level of PM2.5 damaging fine particles at 305 micrograms per cubic meter.
Zuckerberg has made several trips to China in recent years as he looks to get the platform unblocked by the government. He has even taught himself the language and gave an impressive motivational speech to Chinese students last year in Mandarin.