--FILE--Then CCTV (China Central Television) presenter Chai Jing poses during a portrait photography session in Beijing, China, 18 March 2012. A former TV celebrity has unleashed a storm of criticism and a wave of support with a self-funded, An Inconvenient Truth-style documentary on the nation's air pollution scourge. The video by former China Central Television presenter Chai Jing went viral after it was released on various online sites, with critics questioning the scientific basis of her claims and supporters applauding her for shining a light on the issue. Among those cheering was Chen Jining, the new environmental protection minister, who sent Chai a text message to thank her for focusing attention on environmental problems, China News Service reported. Chai spent about 1 million yuan (US$160,000) making Under the Dome and she took up the issue when her daughter was diagnosed with a tumour, the People's Daily website quoted her as saying. In the production, which echoes the slide-show format of former US vice-president Al Gore's 2006 documentary, Chai called on the public to help take remedial action.Tao Xiaofang — Imaginechina
- TitleFreelance journalist
Smog is a daily phenomenon in every major Chinese city. But until former CCTV reporter Chai Jing released the powerful documentary Under the Dome last year on the causes of gray skies—failed government policies, feckless regulators, corruption—and their effects, including skyrocketing cancer rates, shorter life-spans, and childhood illnesses, China’s middle class had mostly taken it with a shrug. Chai’s 104-minute documentary drew 200 million views online in a week before government censors took it down. It created a groundswell of concern and anger that continues today.