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Mark Zuckerberg stirs air pollution debate with 'smog jog' through Beijing

Facebook's co-founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, announced his appearance in Beijing on Friday with a happy message about his jog through the center of China's capital, which has been suffering from a weeklong spell of hazardous air pollution.

Zuckerberg wrote on Facebook, "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." In a photo along with the post, made about 10:30 a.m., Zuckerberg is all smiles alongside several running companions in front of the famous picture of Mao Zedong that overlooks Tiananmen Square.

Zuckerberg unintentionally triggered an online debate about China's major air-pollution problems.

During the past two years, Zuckerberg has made numerous high-profile trips to China and has done little to suppress conjecture about his ambitions to bring Facebook to the country. Zuckerberg has also been open with his personal project of learning Mandarin. In two latest trips to Beijing, Zuckerberg has conversed in Chinese.

On Facebook, responses to Zuckerberg's picture ranged from mocking to genuinely worried about his health.

One user, Christina Tan warned Zuckerberg, "Mark, don't u see the air pollution? Stop running outside! Beijing is my home, but I'm not recommending you run outside."

Within China, news of Zuckerberg's run was quickly reported by the tech media. On China's Weibo, the microblogging service, Chinese users were as ironic as those on Facebook.

One named Bpxue said, "He climbed over the Great Fire Wall to breathe in smog. He's trying too hard!"