Pollution Documentary Attracts Huge Interest in China

Manila Bulletin, March 3, 2015 | Go to article overview

Pollution Documentary Attracts Huge Interest in China


BEIJING -- A slick new documentary on China's environmental woes has racked up more than 175 million online views in two days, underscoring growing concern in the country over the impact of air, water and soil pollution.

Hosted by former state television reporter Chai Jing, "Under the Dome" offers a well-produced look at the cost to the environment of 30 years of breakneck economic development.

Chai discusses the issues before a studio audience while standing in front of a screen showing videos of polluting industries, interviews with affected people and visits by her to sites in China and abroad illustrating the extent of the problem.

It also faults government regulators for failing to crack down on polluters and permitting the widespread burning of the most polluting types of coal, oil and gasoline.

Chai said she was moved to produce the 104-minute documentary out of concern for the effect of pollution on her infant daughter's health. Costing about $160,000 to make, the documentary won praise Sunday from new Chinese Environment Minister Chen Jining, who said it reflected "growing public concern over environmental protection and threats to human health."

The documentary was posted online on Saturday. By Monday evening, it had more than 175 million views on popular video sites Youku and Tencent. Better produced than much of the stodgy fare on state television, it falls stylistically somewhere between a TED talk and Al Gore's 2006 Academy Award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth. …

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