ENVIRONMENT
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Beijing air pollution

'Under the Dome' pollution documentary blocked on Chinese websites

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 March, 2015, 1:24am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 March, 2015, 4:09pm

An environmental protection advocacy video by former TV host Chai Jing  was inaccessible to most internet users on the mainland on Friday.

Under the Dome was no longer available on Youku, Sohu, LeTv, or People.com.cn, the portal affiliated with People’s Daily.

The video prompted heated debate around the country when it was released late last week, just days ahead of the opening of the annual parliamentary session.

But mainland media abruptly toned down the discussion about the video shortly afterwards, amid an unverified photo of a propaganda directive circulating on the internet.

The document purportedly instructing media outlets to stop reporting and discussions on the documentary and Chai. It also ordered portals to remove online feature reports on the film.

Meanwhile, there are also different messages on the internet calling for rallies over the weekend in protest of local pollutions or environmental disputes, but not all are verifiable.

Outspoken medical expert Zhong Nanshan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, publicly voiced support for the documentary on Friday.

“I think Chai Jing’s work is good. Regardless of her motive and background … she has brought up some good questions,” Zhong said to a group of Hong Kong television and radio reporters on the sidelines of the annual national parliamentary session in Beijing.

He said he agreed with Chai’s call to make information on pollution  available to the public, a move that was key to combatting air pollution.

Chen Jining,  the new environmental protection minister, said last week that he sent Chai a text message to thank her for focusing attention on environmental problems, China News Service reported.