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Beijing - is the air quality THAT bad?

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My partner's father works in China and gets a lot of air miles through his job, so we may have the opportunity to visit next year. We have always wanted to visit the Great Wall and thought a week or so in Beijing with a day trip to the Great Wall would be really nice. My partner's father, however, thinks the air pollution will be harmful - my partner has asthma and I have minor(ish) allergies. This is something we hadn't previously considered and a little look around the forums has told me the pollution is pretty bad there. Should we rule out going?

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