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Chai Jing’s “Under the Dome” Documentary, Chinese Reactions

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The below microblog post is currently the most popular of the week on Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo. It currently has over 600k reshares, 100k comments, and 240k upvotes.

The microblog post concerns well-known Chinese CCTV state-broadcaster reporter and host Chai Jing‘s recent documentary Under the Dome about China’s pollution problem. It was posted under her verified account, which is managed by her editor…

From Sina Weibo:

@柴静看见: #Chai Jing Smog Investigation# After a year of silence, Chai Jing has returned, releasing a work of public welfare Under the Dome, searching for the sources of smog at various sites of pollution, traveling to multiple countries to film pollution management experience. For what we all breath, the fate we all share, we must do something for our air. Simultaneously released by @人民网 [The People’s Daily] and @优酷 [Youku].

The full documentary hosted on Youku is embedded in the microblog post (see below)…

On YouTube (with English subtitles):

"This is Beijing throughout 2014."
“This is Beijing throughout 2014.”

…but the link to the documentary on The People’s Daily website is no longer working.

Comments from Sina Weibo:

菠菜柴:

I have a fast food restaurant. After watching this, I silently searched “[equipment for filtering the fumes/smoke produced during cooking over a cooking stove/range]”… Yeah, I plan on contacting the manufacturer to have one installed.

云卷云舒5693蕾:

Under such a serious topic, I didn’t expect there to be so many people to shift/divert attention. That China’s air pollution has become like this, for a mother with a child, if I had the means, I too would emigrate abroad! Just as you guys have said, she has already emigrated abroad, so she doesn’t have to do these things, but she still did!

晋江七朵玫瑰:

What conflict is there in having American citizenship and doing something [good] for China?

L-CarpeDiem:

Cui Yongyuan used his own money to investigate genetically modified food after resigning from CCTV, and Chai Jing used her own money to investigate smog after resigning from CCTV. In this helpless and strange country, a bunch of media figures who still have a conscience use their own hard work to tell the people of this country that there are some harms that have without you knowing it already affected you, your family, your relatives and friends! How can you and they preserve your health? @傲然xiao寳儿 @H心静如水H

Hi杨阳:

The people in the comments who did not watch the program and only focused on criticizing Chai Jing, it is people like you who have brought down the character of our countrymen! Ignorant! Vulgar! Arrogant! Narrow-minded! Under the Dome is so that China’s ordinary common people can understand clearly the situation of pollution in the country, to alert the public, to take action for the benefit of future generations, so please calm yourselves and watch the program earnestly!

孙艺洲:

Everyone watch. Regardless of where you are from, what strata of society you are, this is a fate that we must collectively face…

瑋大:

It’s not that I’m afraid of dying, I just don’t want to live like this.

主持人张松:

All the Big Vs [refers to popular, influential figures on Weibo with verified accounts] who participated in the ice bucket challenge, shouldn’t you be resharing this video? Watching this instead of discussing what color that dress is? duang this duang that [refers to a recent viral video remixing Jackie Chan’s endorsement for a discredited shampoo product with an earlier viral song, “My Skateboard Shoes“]!? Tearing up Hong Kong/Macau travel permits!? This is much more important/meaningful! What “color” is our future? This is something none of us can escape! Chai Jing, it is you who is a goddess [beautiful/hot woman]!

金华浅喉:

Intensely support! Government authorities currently ban firecrackers and smoking meats in the name of [reducing] smog, but may I ask if these are the major causes of smog? Why not spend money and energy on improving the oil refinery facilities of the Big 2 Oil [Sinopec and PetroChina] to process cleaner energy? Why do we allow the environment to be the victim of those coal bosses and arrogant nouveau riche? Why is the environmental protection department always so weak and powerless in the face of those large enterprises that pollute? Why is it that some state-owned enterprises are actually among the major culprits of pollution!?

月咏苏方:

Shocking, just watching this makes me want to throw up. We don’t need China to be #1 in the world, so can we slow down the pace of economic growth just a bit, even slowed down till we are rank 100 or below would be okay. Can we raise pollution management so that it is higher than military build-up? Can we make it so that environmental researchers are better compensated and treated than government cadres? So that we can truly and properly control pollution, restore the environment? This is not only our future or China’s future, but also humanity’s future.

王仕:

A beat/rhythm [move] aimed at conquering the Oscar for Best Documentary.

斋糜CalM:

Seeing most of the [early] popular/upvoted comments arguing over Chai Jing’s American nationality and her daughter’s tumor, I suddenly feel like China cannot be saved! After watching this, shouldn’t people be lamenting that the current situation in China deserves being improved!? Shouldn’t it be about thinking of ways to make things as environmentally friendly as possible!? If we don’t save ourselves, who should we rely on to save us!? There is already someone [referring to Chai Jing] warning us, yet are we going to continue being preoccupied with making fun of each other and gossip, without change/improvement!?

郝姑娘_King:

From the perspective of the government, the fact that this investigation was done by Chai Jing [a private individual] is the government’s shame. From the perspective of an ordinary common person, how many media figures would so truthfully report like this? Comparing China’s corruption to that of other countries, the total population of the corrupt can match that of an entire country’s population. The government’s policies are not firm, the relevant government departments are derelict in their duties, the oversight insufficient, the characters of our countrymen are not being raised, and life is too far from the blue-sky-white-cloud life the ordinary common people want. To sum up, no zuo no die [suggesting that people are reaping what they sowed].

芒果台女汉子:

Her unborn daughter developing a tumor and Chai Jing resigning to take care of her child. When I first heard Chai Jing calmly reveal this information this past Laba Festival, I was really shocked! The baby who had to undergo surgery immediately upon birth has already recovered, but living in Beijing where there are unbelievably 175 days of smog a year and afraid that her daughter would only day ask “what is a blue sky” and “why do you always keep me indoors at home”, she began her investigation. That night, after resigning, Chai Jing spent two hours chatting with the 500-600 people present.

彭宥纶crackpot:

Chai Jing has always been my favorite host/presenter and reporter. After finishing this two-hour long video, I’ve decided the following things: 1- Apart from what is required for work or emergencies, I won’t ride in cars or drive cars. 2- I won’t ride motorcycles. 3- I will ride bicycles instead. 4- I will develop a walking habit.

Eternity柚子:

I saw a comment saying an American should just stay in America and not interfere with China’s internal affairs. I want to say, this is fucking [ridiculous]! That such a comment even has so many upvotes, is truly fucking [ridiculous]! I feel there is no hope left, and no longer know what to say.

钢铁侠安东尼997:

So profound! One-by-one taking down coal, petrochemicals, cars, fuel oil, diesel cars, polluting enterprises, Shanxi, Hebei, the Northeast… There has never been such a comprehensive dissection of PM2.5 [causes of pollution, smog]. The conscience of Chinese news [industry, referring to Chai Jing].

虎嗅网:

Chai Jing’s daughter developed her tumor before she was born, and she resigned to take care of her child, and began [this investigation/project]. This extremely well-done investigation was completed by Chai Jing as a mother, not as Chai Jing the resigned investigative reporter. You should not miss this authoritative, broad, means-rich investigation into smog.

请叫我吴桀超:

Before an avalanche, not a single snowflake feels they are responsible.

Kid_N:

Replying to @摩根自: Chai Jing merely started paying attention to this environmental problem after the incident with her own child, so the child’s tumor may have had nothing to do with the smog, but she merely began earnestly thinking about how she can return blue-skies-white-clouds to her child after this. Instead of feeling grateful that she made such a rousing film about something that intimately affects us all, you clutching to her citizenship and child’s tumor truly is unbelievable/stupefying!

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Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

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