For the past week, there’s been a movie (above) going viral on Chinese social media.

It’s a documentary that draws attention (in painstaking detail) to the continuing air pollution crisis in many Chinese cities.

The Chinese government, currently led by President Xi Jinping, has publicly stated it wants to reduce greenhouse gas and other dangerous emissions. They went so far as to sign a historic agreement with the US that calls for both countries to work together to help solve the climate crisis.

Many foreign media outlets criticised those moves as toothless however and questioned the government’s commitment to fighting pollution.

The documentary is called “Under the Dome.” it was created by filmmaker Chai Jing. It was released online last week on the eve of China’s annual parliamentary assembly.

What’s interesting has been the official reaction. It’s no secret that the Communist Party is usually uncomfortable with criticism, but for a while they seemed to give this documentary a pass. The minister for the environment even went so far as to call Chai personally to thank her for her work.

From the film’s release until late last week, it’s estimated the video was watched upwards of 150 million times.

But now it’s gone.

It appears the government finally decided to crack down. As of Friday, links went dead on YouKu and TuDuo, two major video sharing platforms in Mainland China.

Xi Jinping issued a strong call to action in spite of this, saying, “We are going to punish, with an iron hand, any violators who destroy ecology or environment, with no exceptions.”

So all in all, it remains to be seen how serious China’s commitment to fighting climate change actually is.

If it’s anything like Xi’s ongoing anti-corruption purge however, we can expect to hear more of this in the months to come.


Demand Equity

You need to see the climate change documentary that's taking China by storm

By Tom Blake