Just 3 days after "Under The Dome" went massively viral (152 million views on China's Tencent alone), exposing the reality of China's disastrous pollution in an in-depth 104-minute documentary, The FT reports Chinese censors have moved to tamp down discussion domestically. We had previously noted with surprise just how 'big' the story had got without Beijing's intervention and now we see propaganda authorities directed news outlets on Monday not to publish stories about Under the Dome.
Of course, the documentary is still available (with English subtitles) on YouTube...
Chinese censors have moved to tamp down discussion of a hard-hitting documentary on air pollution that sent the country’s blogosphere into overdrive, highlighting political sensitivity about China’s smog problem.
Propaganda authorities directed news outlets on Monday not to publish stories about Under the Dome, the emotional first-person documentary by a former state television anchor, journalists from three news organisations told the Financial Times on Tuesday.
The official Xinhua News Agency has deleted at least two original articles on the documentary from its website, including one about the environment minister’s praise for the film. The other deleted article is about how the film has become a hot topic at the parliament meeting. Both articles are still available on other news sites.
Xinhua has requested other media not to republish several other related articles remaining on its site, according to screenshots of the request that circulated on Weibo, the Twitter-like microblog platform.
A duty secretary at Xinhua surnamed Zhu said she was not aware of a notice sent to media clients.
The film is no longer a trending topic on Weibo, although it is not clear whether the change is the result of censorship. Posts featuring the Xinhua screenshot have also been deleted.
China maintains a multi-layered censorship apparatus that includes both explicit directives to media organisations from the Communist party’s propaganda department, self-censorship by news organisations and social media platforms, and outright blockages of some foreign websites.
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