This documentary about pollution is going viral in China, as country leaders meet

Denise Puca
5 March 2015

BEIJING: The extreme popularity of a new documentary which addresses the international attention on China’s air pollution and its effects on human health, is sending a clear signal to policymakers at the National People’s Congress this week that the public want urgent action.

As soon as the documentary was uploaded on domestic websites it immediately went viral, clocking more than 100 million views in China after two days.

‘Under the Dome’ was made by former CCTV anchor Chai Jing. In it she reveals the story of her troubled pregnancy, as her baby had been diagnosed with a benign tumour before being born.

As Chai Jing herself has stressed, the documentary shows nothing new about the state of air pollution in China, which people all over the world have long been aware of. But after having suffered personally from it she decided to tell her emotional story in a bid to reach more people.

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director at The Climate Group commented: “The phenomenal interest in this documentary is of critical importance in China today, since it represents how much people care about the environment and also the collective urgency to find solutions. The moment of the release of the documentary is also critical. Right before the commencement of the National People's Congress, the public response to this documentary signals to China’s lawmakers that they demand much improved environmental quality and protection of their health.

“We are now one year since Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared ‘war on pollution’ at last year's session of the National People’s Congress. This proves that while lots of efforts have been and are being made, the result does not come around immediately. Rather, it requires steadfast and continued efforts to really instil the clean revolution at the heart of how political leaders govern the country.”

Video: Under the Dome – Investigating China’s Smog (English subtitles)

The effects of the growing awareness seem to have already reached the Chinese stock market. As Bloomberg reported, two Beijing-based environmental entrepreneurs became billionaires on Tuesday as the shares of their companies rose following the documentary's release.

Rising green stocks are another clear sign of the fast-growing low carbon economy, which forward-thinking companies around the world are competing to lead. 

report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows China's clean energy investment totalled US$89.5 billion last year, meaning China now accounts for almost 29% of the world’s total renewables investment. The country’s constant efforts in developing the sector offer further evidence that renewable energy generates clear benefits for the economy, and attracts the attention of foreign investors.

The corporate appetite to decarbonize is particularly evident in The Climate Group and CDP’s RE100 campaign, in which 16 top companies from the US and Europe have committed to go 100% renewable. This year RE100 will expand into China and India, offering Chinese companies the opportunity to respond to the public's call for action while saving energy and money in the long term.

Find out more about RE100 in our Infographic

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By Denise Puca

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