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In Pictures: Thick smog descends on Shanghai

Flights have been delayed and schoolchildren confined to classrooms as dense smog envelops China's financial hub

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Residents wearing masks ride their electric bicycles on a street amid heavy haze in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province Dec. 5, 2013. China will launch two new pilot carbon trading schemes this week in Beijing and Shanghai as it strives to cut soaring rates of greenhouse gas, reduce choking smog and determine the best system for a nationwide roll-out.

CHINA DAILY/REUTERS

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Smoke rises from the chimneys of a thermal power plant during a hazy day in Nantong, Jiangsu province, Dec. 4, 2013.

ALY SONG/REUTERS

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A woman wearing a mask walks on a bridge during a hazy day in downtown Shanghai Dec.5, 2013.

ALY SONG/REUTERS

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A man stands on the Bund in front of the financial district of Pudong during a hazy day in downtown Shanghai Dec.6, 2013. China's stability-obsessed leadership has become increasingly concerned by the abysmal air quality in cities, as it plays into popular resentment over political privilege and rising inequality in the world's second-largest economy.

ALY SONG/REUTERS

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A woman wears a surgical mask while walking towards an escalator on a bridge during a hazy day in Shanghai's financial district of Pudong Dec.5, 2013. Hazardous air pollution forced schools to shut or suspend outdoor activities in at least two cities in eastern China, where residents complained of the yellow skies and foul smells that are symtomatic of the country's crippling smog crisis. Nanjing suspended classes in primary and secondary schools and Qingdao banned outdoor activities, said the official Xinhua news agency.

ALY SONG/REUTERS

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An electronic screen and buildings are seen amid heavy smog at the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai Dec.6, 2013.

ALY SONG/REUTERS

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A man wears a face mask while walking on the Bund in front of the financial district of Pudong during a hazy day in downtown Shanghai Dec.6, 2013.

ALY SONG/REUTERS

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A man wears a face mask while walking on the Bund during a hazy day in downtown Shanghai Dec.6, 2013.

ALY SONG/REUTERS

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A tourist with a protective mask takes her self portrait at the Bund under heavy haze in Shanghai, China, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. Shanghai authorities ordered schoolchildren indoors and halted all construction Friday as China's financial hub suffered one its worst bouts of air pollution, bringing visibility down to a few dozen meters and obscuring the city's spectacular skyline.

Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

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A woman rides covered with heavy haze in Shanghai, China, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.

Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

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A building under construction is covered with haze in Shanghai, China, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.

Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

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