Beijing, China: Former Chinese news anchor Chai Jing’s personal bitter experience with the effects of smog led her to produce a documentary, ‘Under the Dome’, which has earned the status of China’s ‘Silent Spring.’ While, Jing’s documentary received 75 million hits on the day of its release, there is a bitter reality attached to the online video.
Jing had to quit her job as an anchor after she came to know that her unborn daughter had a tumor. She self-financed $200,000 towards the documentary to bring China’s smog problem under the spotlight. In her documentary, Jing discussed the cause of the smog, its formation, consequences on the environment and people and the roadblocks in containing the issue.
The online video went viral as it was viewed over 200 million times as on March 2, 2015. The video underlined the devil role played by coal in releasing smog into the environment. Jing showed in her video as how coal and oil contribute to 60% of air pollution in China, while she highlighted that China broke all records in burning coal in 2013 that surpassed the combined coal burning of other countries.
Jing took effort to include interviews with the officials from Los Angeles and London, which were earlier known to be the most polluted cities, discussing ways they employed to contain the issue. The appreciation for the video is flooding and has earned an attention from China’s new environment minister Chen Jining. Meanwhile, the video has also pushed the stocks of anti-pollution technology up amid buzz that China will make greener laws soon.
Senior scholar at Tsinghua University’s Institute of Economics Li Jiangtao finds the timing of the video extremely right. He said that there could be no better time to release the video than now, when the new environment minister has been appointed, and voices are raising for anti-corruption drive. Meanwhile, a BBC report has mentioned that the growing public pressure will finally push China to roll out tough regulations on coal-burning polluters, which until now are being overlooked by the lower level officials.