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Could the Influence of “Under the Dome” — a Chinese Documentary about Smog Pollution — Equal the American Book the “Silent Spring”?

In just three days, Chinese documentary film “Under the Dome” generated 136 million views on the Chinese government Tencent video portal and sparked vibrant discussions of the country’s dense and devastating pollution problems, specifically health issues relating to smog. The huge online response illustrates perhaps indicates greater official tolerance for public discussion of the country’s environmental challenges.

Produced by Chai Jing, a former anchor at state broadcaster China Central Television, and presented in TED Talk style, the film released at 12 noon Saturday, 28 February 2015 taps researchers from around the world discussing the health effects of smog.

The enthusiastic response to the 104-minute film — and the fact government censors have permitted it to stream on major internet portals — suggest officials want to harness public pressure to build political support for tougher measures to combat the problem.

Chen Jining, environmental protection minister, said on Sunday he had texted Ms. Chai to thank her for a film “worthy of admiration”. Mr. Chen compared the film to Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, which is credited with galvanizing the modern environmental movement in the US, official media reported.

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