RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – The Skinny’s post earlier this week about Beijing and pollution that will cloud the upcoming Olympics riled some defenders of the dragon.

“Please shut up if you have not been to Beijing,” wrote Jason Zhao.

I haven’t been to Beijing, Jason, but I hope to someday. As for your request, I won’t shut up, either.

Here’s Jason’s note:

“Dear Rick Smith,

“Have you ever gone to Beijing? Where and how did you get all these information?

“A lot of foreigners are living and working in Beijing now. They don’t have any problem. Maybe Beijing is not as clean your country, but more 15,000,000 people live here. We are proud of being a Chinese and enjoy the life and work here.

“I suggest you to come Beijing, China someday. Please don’t say anything if you didn’t see it in person. It’s unfair!

Jason Zhao”

Thanks for the note, Jason. My blog wasn’t really an attack on Beijing but on a government that believes it can solve pollution problems by decree.

Where did I get the information about pollution? From multiple news sources.

As the Games draw closer, in fact, concern about pollution and its impact on athletes is growing. Some apparently will compete while wearing masks to filter the air.

As for shutting up, the Communist government apparently is going back on assurances it had given to Olympic organizers that freedom of the press would prevail – at least through the Games.

Since I’m not in Beijing, I don’t have to shut up.