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People in China Can No Longer Watch This Environmental Documentary

Just after praising a viral film about the country's air pollution problems, Chinese authorities appear to have scrubbed it from internet sites.

by VICE News
Mar 9 2015, 3:20pm

Image via YouTube

When former television reporter Chai Jing released her documentary Under the Dome exposing the severity of China's air pollution, the central government seemed to react with nearly the same enthusiasm as the hundreds of millions of Chinese viewers who watched the film online.

But just a week after its February 28th debut, the film became inaccessible on all of China's major video sites on Friday. 

It's a sharp turn from the support some government officials expressed for the film's message. Minister of Environmental Protection Chen Jining told reporters shortly after the release that he was "particularly pleased" about the film's viral success, comparing it to Rachel Carson's 1962 exposé on pesticides, Silent Spring. 

On Saturday, the minister avoided mention of the documentary during a press conference at the National People's Congress in which he focused on combating the country's notoriously dirty air.

In February, the government announced that only eight of the country's 74 major cities met minimum air quality standards.

The film is still available on YouTube for viewers outside of China.

Related: Millions of Chinese watched an environmental documentary this weekend — and the government is happy about it