China bans Under the Dome

Smog has been regular in some cities in China

Chinese government has blocked the release of an investigative documentary on China’s infamous smog. It has been able to garner attraction in the internet with an overwhelming 175 million online viewers. The 103 minute documentary Under the Dome employs simple words to deliver a strong message to call out Chinese people who are consciously or unconsciously immersed in the gains of their economic success. This would likely initiate a new wave of public debate on air pollution once again. The world knows the problem China faces when it comes to air pollution. The city has been experiencing degradation in their air quality since the early 2000s. The public has already been familiar with the technical word PM 2.5 since 2011 when another debate on the toxic air initiated by public figures on Chinese social media Weibo. In the past four years, thousands of news articles on air pollution were published and various NGO campaigns highlighted the effects of pollution after which the government finally announced its war on polluted air in 2014.

Chai Jing was a former reporter who created Under the Dome

Despite the awareness of the Chinese people on the problem of air quality, they still lack in trying to come up with tangible solutions. The sight of people wearing masks outside in Beijing has been a regular thing for the past few years. The documentary has been able to sparked a wide range of public discussion from environmental protection to energy reform, then to science communication even towards humanity. In fact, the Chinese environment minister Chen Jining praised the documentary and said that it reflects the growing public concern over environmental protection and threats to human health. Unfortunately the documentary has been ignored by lawmakers at the annual National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). The Chinese government focuses on other issues. Most importantly they focus on their relations with South Korea who also faces scrutiny over the lack of priority over the Korea comfort women issue.

Images by Mashable and chinatopix