Patti Austin Cancels Beijing Show After Asthma Attack in Smoggy Chinese Capital

Universal Music Group

The soul singer was treated for asthma and respiratory illness on one of city's worst polluted days of the year.

Beijing's chronic air pollution problem may have claimed its latest victim as singer Patti Austin was forced to cancel her performance in the city Friday after suffering an asthma attack.

The 63-year-old singer was treated for severe asthma and a respiratory infection at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital Friday morning, the South China Morning Post reported.

The World Bank estimates 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China, and the government is facing mounting public criticism that it is not doing enough to fend off potential environmental catastrophes.

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Austin was taking part in the JZ Festival, and was due to perform in Shanghai on Saturday.

She said she was "extremely disappointed" to miss the show and organizers said they would reschedule.

The daily routine in Beijing is to read the pollution measurements from the U.S. embassy and the Beijing city government. The embassy read showed the air was "hazardous," with the concentration of PM2.5, the tiny particulate pollutants that can lodge in the lungs, surpassing 300 micrograms per cubic meter.

Meanwhile, the Beijing municipal authorities' Air Quality Index gave a "heavily polluted reading."

The Beijing city government announced a new and complex raft of regulations to combat the effect of persistent, heavy air pollution on the populace. A key rule will take private vehicles off the roads on alternate days, depending on their license plate, when pollution is especially bad.