Tuesday, March 27th

Under The Dome

Director: Chai Jing

104 min. 2015.


Hanes Auditorium, Duke Central Campus

The documentary is personal yet social expose of air pollution in China. Journalist Chai Jing presents the results of a multi year-long research mostly in the form of a lecture, reminiscent of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. As well as data, she reveals footage from factory visits and interviews with government officials, environmental experts and business owners. She also speaks with officials from London and Los Angeles on how their respective cities have managed to deal with historic issues of pollution.

Release and ban

Under the Dome was released online February 28 2015, on the Saturday preceding the meetings of the National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. The documentary was initially streamed on three major internet platforms, including Tencent, Youku, and the People’s Daily Online, which is the online version of the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China. Soon after the release, the People’s Daily Online  posted an editorial banning the film under the terms that it pressure the public perception of smog and the fear of collective action by the people.

Public Opinion After viewing Under the Dome was mainly positive, people expressed their support towards the documentary as well as opinions on smog in China online. More than 80% of viewers said that they are deeply concerned about air pollution in China. Around 70% of viewers said that they changed their view of smog and developed a better understanding of the problem. Over 75% expressed a willingness to restrict car usage and other measures to curve pollution, also take public transportation.

A panel following the film will include:

Shu-chin Tsui – Asian & Cinema Studies, Bowdoin College

Mike Bergin – Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke

Dr. Shu-Chin Tsui discusses the role documentary filmmaking plays in China’s response to its growing environmental crisis. Her talk complements screenings of Under the Dome (2015) and Plastic China (2016).