Monday, March 09, 2015

China orders take-down of "Under the Dome", lecture-documentary by journalist Chai Jing

There is a lot of controversy as China’s Communist Party ordered the removal of the film “Under the Dome” by journalist Chai Jing, 39, who spent about $160000 of her own money to produce the 104-minute film in a “Ted talk” format, about the air and water pollution crisis in China.
The film is widely available in the West free in various YouTube uploads, many in several parts. It has English and Chinese subtitles.
Jing admits that she was inspired to title her film as such by the CBS series of the same name, based on Stephen King’s novel (see TV blog, Sept 22, 2014).  So I guess Stephen King is not too popular with the Chinese government either.
Jing mentions Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”, and the December 1952 smog event in London. She also covers the progress of Los Angeles since the 1960s in controlling smog, and compares Los Angeles to Beijing.

She also mentions her reporting of the SARS epidemic in 2003, and the Chinese desire to keep it quiet. 
A lot of the time spent by the video of the film shows her talking.  I would have preferred even more live footage of Chinese industry than she showed.  There is some nice animation, such as an explanation of how soot affects lungs (reminding one of “Fantastic Voyage”).  There is some detailed footage of lung surgery.
The Guardian has a story on the Chinese government’s shameful action here. The very detailed story by Edward Wong in the New York Times today by Edward Wong is here.  Vox Media has a review and discussion of the politics of pollution in China by Katy Lee here
Wikipedia attribution link for photo by Bobak comparing Beijing on smoggy v. clear day, under Creative Commons Share-Alike 2.5 license.

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