China takes viral 'Under the Dome' video offline

The documentary about air pollution that went viral in China—and around the world—went offline as of this Saturday. The independently produced documentary, “Under the Dome,” attracted hundreds of millions of views after being released on the video sharing site Youku. The video follows the personal investigation of Chai Jing, a former TV news presenter, confronting the issue of smog as a new mother.

The initial release of the video appeared to be tolerated by the Chinese government, and was even hailed as a sign of the government’s renewed willingness to tackle the problem. But about a week after the film’s release, the video appears to have been censored. It was removed from popular Chinese mainland video sites as of Saturday morning in Beijing, according to the BBC. The video is still available on YouTube with English subtitles (embedded below).

The movie had also been covered by a number of Chinese news sites, but these stories started to be removed mid-week. According to NPR, the official People’s Daily newspaper aired the documentary on its website until Wednesday, when it disappeared without explanation.

“Under the Dome” has been hailed as a watershed for China’s air pollution problem, and has been compared to “An Inconvenient Truth” and Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring.”

The Chinese government has made declarations promising to address the country's air pollution problem, but it has a long way to go. Greenpeace reports that 190 Chinese cities have hazardous levels of air pollution.

Tags: Air Pollution | Air Quality | China | Documentaries

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