Shanghai was forced to deny that China’s future tallest building, now under construction, was on fire Thursday after what looked like smog surrounded the towering structure.
The incident came after a factory fire in the neighbouring province of Zhejiang went unnoticed for three hours earlier this month because of thick haze, said state media.
Alarmed microblog users posted photos of the Shanghai Tower, which will stand 632 metres (2,086 feet) tall after it is topped out later this year, with smoke appearing to billow from the building.
“It really looks like it’s on fire,” said a microblogger using the handle Jolly Baobei.
China’s commercial hub has been less affected than much of the country by the heavy pollution of recent weeks, although air quality hit “very unhealthy” levels on Wednesday.
The Shanghai government sought to calm the panic by denying a blaze, but its explanation of “fog” was quickly ridiculed.