Call it China’s An Inconvenient Truth. Former China Central Television reporter Chai Jing’s documentary has racked up millions of views on video site Youku since its release over the weekend – and now a version with English subtitles is out.
The one-hour-and-45-minute look at air pollution in China has sparked a new debate about health and the environment. Part TED talk, part interview, part investigative report, Chai became interested in the issue when her daughter was diagnosed with a tumor – before she was even born.
“Before, I never paid attention to pollution. Wherever I went, I never wore a mask,” Chai told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.
This is definitely not a popcorn movie. Expect footage of dead fish in rivers, factories belching smoke, and scenes in hospitals with patients suffering from cancer and other maladies.
One early interview is heartbreaking: Chai, who was previously one of China’s top investigative reporters, asks a young girl if she’s ever seen white clouds. "Never," the girl replies.
For the moment, the documentary is only available in Chinese on Youku, but a version with English subtitles is now available on YouTube, see the link below. These are considered "working subtitles," so bear with them if they’re not perfect.
This post first appeared on thebeijinger.com on March 3, 2015.
Photo: Youku/the Beijinger