Documentary About Environmental Woes Of China Banned; Removed From Chinese Web Sites

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IN PHOTO: A documentary regarding environmental woes in China was banned by the country's government. It was removed from the Chinese Web sites after it was posted on the internet last week. IN PHOTO: The location of schools in areas with high levels of air pollution may have an impact on the cognitive development of students in their middle childhood. Students pose with “big cigarette models” at a primary school in Handan, Hebei province. REUTERS/China Daily

A documentary regarding environmental woes in China was banned by the country's government. It was removed from the Chinese Web sites after it was posted on the Internet the first week of March. 

According to The Guardian, the 104-minute documentary called "Under the Dome" was looking into the air quality as well as pollution in China. Millions of viewers watched the film and a lot of people amongst those who saw it and admired it were government officials. 

The government removed the documentary from Web sites like Youku and Tencent. But it was still available in YouTube which was banned in China. An error message appeared on the Web site Hao123 which stated that the documentary did not meet the checks of the Web site.

The director of the documentary and a journalist, Chai Jing, had approached Environmental Protection Minister Chen Jining who explained to her the leverage the officials have in enforcing anti-pollution laws. Before the release of the documentary, the interview between her and the officials were sent to other government departments, after which she began a dialogue with the teams.

Jining, at the launch of the documentary at the annual meeting of China's legislature, said that he thought the documentary would play an important role for the promotion of awareness about issues related to environmental health. He said that he was pleased at the launch of the documentary. He also compared the documentary to the movie Silent Spring, which spoke against pesticide use in the United States. 

Jing had made the movie after she became pregnant and was scared about the health of her unborn baby because of the air pollution in the country. She said that she made the movie to dramatise the health costs due to  pollution issues of China. The film talked about the regulations that were being steamrolled in industrial expansion and how the factories were exceeding its limits. 

Apart from taking the video from the Web sites, an interview with Jing was also removed from People's Daily, a news organisation. Directives also had been passed to the media asking them to not report about it.

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