Analayze and answer questions .
Case Study: Hiding “Under the dome
By many measures, China is a progressive nation. But as consumer-friendly and market-oriented as it may be, its government at times represses dissent and restricts dialogue.
In 2015, filmmaker Chai Jing made Under the Dome, a documentary film about China’s stifling air pollution. She was reportedly inspired to make the film when her unborn daughter developed a tumor in the womb, which had to be removed soon after her birth. Chai blamed the tumor on China’s stifling air pollution.
Under the Dome’s impact in the country stirred conversations about environmental protection on social media. Foreign media hailed the film as a breakthrough for its impact on citizens and the reaction it stimulated in the Chinese government.
Despite the fact the film openly criticized the state-owned industries and the inability of the Ministry of Environmental Protection to act against big polluters, the government gave the documentary a “vote of confidence.”
Then, two days after praising Under the Dome, the Chinese government changed its mind and disallowed further distribution of the film. At the same time, the Chinese government reinforced its environmental concerns and set specific goals for reducing vehicle and plant emissions.
Even though Under the Dome was stopped, the film’s message was heard and responded to by the Chinese people and their government.
1- Why do you think the Chinese government immediately endorsed Chai Jing’s film?
2- Why do you think the government reneged on its endorsement?
|3-how would you assess the success or the failure in a public relation scenes, of under the dome?|
China due to its rapid economic growth fuelled by sharp increase in industrial outputs have seen industrial facilities coming up very quickly in certain Chinese provinces. It is either due to propensity of these industries to cut costs, have paid little attention to implement strict modern pollution control mechanism or it is the old polluting factories which continue to thrive without adequate intervention by government environmental control agencies. In China, government faces the dilemma on trade off between economic and employment growth vs environmental control. With its zeal to become world’s fastest growth and largest economy, many a times such serious environmental concerns are ignored for convenience. Also, the problem is so enormous, it is also very difficult for the government to crack down on such polluting industries and other mechanisms without inviting media attention and creating social disturbances causing public outrage, both of which communist government would try to avoid as much as possible.
Pollution of skies of large Chinese cities are well known facts which have drawn attention of global community and foreign media. As would be evidenced from multilateral negotiations on Kyoto protocol, China and other developing countries also have raised issues regarding their industrial output growth, employment generation for which they are forced to compromise on carbon emission targets as developed countries would like to see.
Chinese government however is ceased with the problem and are aware how much health and social hazards this issue of environmental pollution is causing to its citizens and thus potential damage to wellbeing of the country in the future.
1. Against above backdrop, the respective ministry of the government initially sympathized and shared concerns the movie has depicted and gave a full thumb up to the movie. In other words, the ministry acted like a good corporate citizen and showed that it supports her concern and would like to do more work in containing environmental pollution.
2. It may not be ruled out that there could a possible rift between the apex body (viz politburo of Chinese communist party) and the acting government. Based on past instances, it can be safely assumed that spreading of public outrage and foreign media attention are the two things which the apex party desists. So, in hindsight, government feared that huge popularity of the movie may cause formation of strong public opinion which may lead to unwarranted situations like protests, mass campaigns etc. Also, the movie caused more foreign media attention into internal affairs of China. These possible consequences made the government nervous which ordered banning of screening of the movie
3.Under the dome did well in managing public relations issues. While the movie did not have large public relations budget, the movie was promoted by the producer herself at her own cost. Being a low budget documentary film, an elaborate public relations campaign may not be possible at all and also may not be permitted. With restricted freedom of print and broadcast medium, the movie did very well in terms of effective public relations which saw the movie getting positive acceptance in social circles, media and ministry. What happened eventually is a government action on which Chai had very little control and therefore should not be considered as failure in managing public relations.