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Under the Dome

Under the Dome is a feature-length documentary about China's notorious air pollution problem — a topic close to Chinese hearts and a political headache for the country's decision makers. The show became viral on Chinese social media shortly after it was released on February 28, 2015. Within hours of its post online, ‘#Chai Jing’s smog investigation’ was the top trending topic on China’s Twitter equivalent, Sina Weibo, and the numberof views for the online video reached 100 million by the morning of the next day.

Produced by Chai Jing, a former investigative journalist from China's CCTV, Under the Dome featured a TED style presentation with Chai on stage talking to a lice audience. She used photographs, slides, video clips and animations to examine how China's notorious smog got so extreme. The nearly two-hour documentary is packed with sobering pollution data and compelling personal anecdotes. As part of the investigation, Chai took field trips to polluting factories and even London and Los Angeles to revisit moments in smog history that have claimed thousands of lives. The conclusion from the documentary is a hard critical look at China’s over-reliance on dirty coals, fossil fuels, its bloated heavy industries and its lax enforcement of environmental statutes. Sixty percent of Chinese smog comes from the burning of coal and gasoline, the documentary notes, citing reports published by Chinese research institutions.

Environmental experts agree that the documentary will have a positive impact on public awareness about pollution in China.

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