“Under the Dome”–A Documentary Goes Viral

“Only in China would a documentary on air pollution garner more than 100 million views in less than 48 hours.”


“Could “Under the Dome”, Chinese journalist Chai Jing’s new documentary about pollution,become China’s “Silent Spring”, the 1962 book that spurred the development of the U.S. environmental movement?”


“It has been compared to Silent Spring, Rachel Carson’s seminal work that shaped US environmental policy.”

–The Guardian

When talking about a video goes viral, garner more than 100 million views within 48 hours, what kind of video do you think it is? A comedy? A drama? Believe it or not, it is a documentary on air pollution.


“Under the Dome”is a documentary on air pollution in China, produced by former CCTV journalist Chai Jing, who is famous for telling the truth when doing the interviews. Besides that, one of the reasons that this documentary is highly prised is that Chai Jing spends her own money, around £103.000, to make this video. And personal found research is more believe-worthy than government announcement, at least in China.

Chai Jing in Under the Dome

I’d say that the film is very well researched and structured. The whole documentary is organised as a speech like TED, lasting for 104mins. Chai Jing brings all the pieces into context of regulatory and political reality, as well as quality of life context. She asks the questions people would ask, and answer them by information she got from the research, but in an easy way for normal people to understand. The question-answer structure makes the film fluently and captures audiences’ attentions all the time.


Chai Jing starts the film with a very personal reason–her newborn baby girl had benign tumour cause by the smog in China (however, this has not been proved by any direct evidences). She also asked a six-year old young girl in Xi’an (where has the most serious pollution in China) if she had seen blue sky and white cloud. The girl said no. This reminds me of the first time I saw the sky outside the China. I was shocked. Because I didn’t know that a night sky with stars can be so beautiful !


The documentary shows the information that related to every individual lives in China, which they didn’t know before. They have many questions and concerns about it, but no one could answer. Chai Jing provides them all the answers to their wonder, with full research and evidence. I think that’s main reason that it has gone viral in such a short time!

Chai Jing Interview




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