Sensitive Words: Under the Dome

Sensitive Words: Under the Dome

Sensitive Words highlights keywords that are blocked from Sina Weibo search results. CDT independently tests the keywords before posting them, but some searches later become accessible again. We welcome readers to contribute to this project so that we can include the most up-to-date information. Use the form at the bottom of this post to help us crowd source sensitive words. You can also browse our archive of sensitive words.

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:

Also blocked are results for the combined search terms smog + APEC (雾霾+APEC). Netizens have compared Beijing’s blue skies during APEC last fall to the cerulean over the ongoing Two Sessions. In the fall, many people called the color of these smog-free skies APEC blue—now they are calling it Chai Jing blue in support of Chai and her documentary:

The first result for a search of Chai Jing (柴静), on the other hand, pulls up a recommended post by the magazine Science & Technology for China’s Mass Media on the scrubbing of “Under the Dome.” The magazine has even opened a Weibo topic page with the hashtag #UndertheDomeBlocked?:


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)

#《穹顶之下》遭禁播?#由原央视记者柴静自费拍摄,聚焦了时下热点雾霾问题的纪录片《穹顶之下》一度网络上引起关注。而最近,不少网友发现,该纪录片却在各大视频网站中被屏蔽,无法正常播出。 [Chinese]

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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