A man and his dog, both wearing masks, walk along a small alley on a hazy day in Beijing. China’s capital raised its four-tiered alert system to “orange” for the first time on February 20, 2015. (REUTERS/Legal Evening/Liu Chang)
Chai Jing, the filmmaker of Under the Dome, is interviewed on CBC Radio’s The Current, March 4, 2015. Although much has been made of this film going viral, little is known in the West about the documentary filmmaker herself. Here is a translation of an interview with her from the China Digital Times. http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2015/03/translation-peoples-daily-interview-chai-jing/
MacLeans Magazine reported that:
This weekend, Chai Jing, a 39-year-old filmmaker renowned in China, released Under the Dome, a movie that took aim at China’s disastrous environmental policy that has covered the country with thick smog; for half the days of the year, the outdoors for many Chinese people are a toxic soup. The particulate matter in China’s air, according to Chai’s independent measurements, recorded levels of 305.91—more than four times the already-high health target set by the government. And it’s working: The movie—a series of plaintive anecdotes with Chai stalking a stage like Tim Cook announcing a new iPhone—racked up 100 million views in just a couple of days.
In one early and moving moment, Chai recalls interviewing a child who told her she had never seen a star, or the blue of the sky. According to a translation:
When I was interviewing this little girl back in 2004, I could not imagine that what this girl described would become the world that my daughter will be living in. This is Beijing in 2014: Only when the weather is good enough, I take her out.
In its first two days of release, a 143-minute documentary on the vast pollution problem in China has been viewed by more than 100 million Chinese citizens on the Tencent video site, and there have been more than 280 million posts on Sina Weibo, China’s micro-blogging site. The film is called “Under the Dome,” a deliberate evocation of the U.S. science-fiction TV series about a small town that is cut off from the world by an indestructible dome.
In a study completed in 2013 and published in the British medical journal Lancet, outdoor air pollution in China was found to have contributed to 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010, about 40% of the world’s total related to air pollution.