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Articles by Matt Schiavenza

Matt Schiavenza is a contributing writer for The Atlantic.

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This story was originally published by The Atlantic and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

On Saturday, Chai Jing, a former television journalist from China, released a feature-length documentary film that, unusually for China, took the government to task. Titled Under the Dome, the video featured Chai giving a presentation on stage, using both photographs and slides to examine how China’s notorious air pollution got so extreme — and why the Communist Party has failed to fix it. Jing’s interest was personal: Her daughter underwent surgery soon after her birth to remove a tumor that, Chai claims, was caused by pollution.

Under ordinary circumstances, the Chinese government might have swiftly removed the video from Youku, China’s YouTube, before it could gain much traction. But the film has been left untouched, amassing tens of millions of views and touching off a spirited discussion online. Under the Dome, which is embedded above, has even received praise from senior government officials.

“Chai Jing’s documentary calls for public environmental consciousness from the standpoint of public health,” Chen Jining, ... Read more