Sensitive Words: Under the Dome
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The documentary about air pollution in China that went viral on February 28 is being shut down online. Former CCTV reporter Chai Jing’s independently produced film, “Under the Dome,” was watched at least 200 million times before it was shut down, but the censorship came swiftly. Although the film first appeared on the website of the Party mouthpiece People’s Daily, the timing of the release so close to the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (known collectively as the “Two Sessions”), Chai’s implication of the state-owned oil companies in worsening air pollution, and the very popularity of “Under the Dome” may all have contributed to its quick demise.
Directives leaked last week show a slow build in the reaction to “Under the Dome,” from controlling hype and “public opinion” around it to the removal of the film entirely from video websites. The Fei Chang Dao blog has documented the execution of this latest directive. An unnamed reporter in Shanghai who leaked a directive on Weibo (translated by CDT) was suspended from work.
On Weibo, searches for Under the Dome (穹顶之下) are now blocked:
Zhongguochuanmeikeji (@中国传媒科技): #UndertheDomeBlocked? “Under the Dome,” the documentary about the pressing issue of smog self-produced by former CCTV journalist Chai Jing, attracted a lot of attention online for a time. But recently, many netizens have found that the film has been blocked on each major video website, and they can’t view it normally. (March 8, 2015)
Hongshanhume (@红珊瑚me) replies, “Looks like the government doesn’t want to deal with pollution, or doesn’t want ordinary people to know about it. If they’re this opaque, then it’s clear they have no self-confidence.” (看来政府还是不想治理污染，或是不想让老百姓知道。如此不透明，可见没有一点自信).
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