meme that spread online grafted an image of the iconic headquarters of China’s state television network with a still from “Blade Runner 2049,” the dystopian 2017 science fiction film. Another showed spacecraft and figures from “Ultraman,” a Japanese superhero franchise, marching through Beijing’s gloom.

Given the improvements in air quality in recent years, newcomers in Beijing experienced air like this for the first time.

accelerate its efforts to reduce carbon emissions, which have contributed to climate change.

Pollution has proved to be a pernicious challenge, though, as officials continue to prioritize economic development.

warned the authorities in Tangshan, the country’s steel-making hub in Hubei Province, after finding that four steel mills had failed to reduce production to lower pollution.

In Inner Mongolia, a northern Chinese region whose delegates Mr. Xi met in Beijing, the local edition of The People’s Daily featured an article about efforts to combat desertification, which has contributed to the dust storms. The article appeared on Monday just as the worst pollution in years hit.

“Yellow sands are going away and green trees are flourishing,” it proclaimed.

Albee Zhang and Elsie Chen contributed research.

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