Chinese authorities have a removed from websites Under the Dome, a popular documentary which highlights China’s severe pollution problem.
Under the Dome explains the social and health costs of pollution, and was watched by more than 100 million people online, sparking debates.
It was removed just two days after Premier Li Keqiang called pollution a blight on people’s lives.
Li Keqiang had promised to fight it with all the government’s might.
The environmental issue has dominated the current session of the Chinese parliament, the National People’s Congress, in Beijing.
The huge popularity of an impassioned, independent film on the issue appears to have made the communist authorities nervous, correspondents say.
Under the Dome, a year-long investigation of pollution in China, had garnered more than 100 million views in less than 48 hours.
Made by renowned investigative journalist Chai Jing and funded with her own money, the film sharply criticizes the Chinese state’s lax environmental laws.
Standing in front of an audience in a simple white shirt and jeans, Chai Jing speaks plainly throughout the 103-minute video, which features a year-long investigation of China’s noxious pollution problem.
At times, the documentary is deeply personal. Near the start of the documentary, Chai Jing interviews a 6-year-old living in the coal-mining province of Shanxi, one of the most polluted places on earth.
“Have you ever seen stars?” Chai Jing asks.
“No,” replies the girl.
“Have you ever seen a blue sky?”
“I have seen a sky that’s a little bit blue,” the girl tells her.
“But have you ever seen white clouds?”
“No,” the girl sighs.
As of March 7, Under the Dome was no longer available on popular Chinese mainland video sites.
A link on the Youku website that previously led to the video now prompts the message: “We’re very sorry, Youku was unable to find the page you requested.”
China operates the world’s most formidable online censorship machine, known as the Great Firewall.
Some social media users in China voiced frustration at the removal of the film.
Under the Dome is still available on YouTube with English subtitles.
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