Historical Figures

Chai Jing, in the fight against air pollution

Reporter, Chai Jing (born in 1976) is an activist for the environment, sustainable development and against air pollution. In 2017, you chose to award him the Nob’Elles sustainable development and environment prize.

Animator and investigative journalist

Chai Jing was born on 1 st January 1976 in Linfen, southwest China's Shanxi Province. She embarked on accounting studies at the Changsha Railway Institute (now known as Zhongnan University of Economics and Law ) in Changsha, Hunan Province. During his studies, Chai Jing writes to a radio show host asking him to help him realize his dream; her letter gets her an interview and, later, a job at the radio station.

In 1995, Chai Jing graduated and became a radio host for the program “Doux clair de lune”, then for the program “Nouvelle jeunesse”. After three years, she resumed studies at the future Communication University of China in Beijing, in audiovisual production. In 2001, Chai Jing was hired by China Central Television as a presenter and reporter for the program Horizon Connection .

In 2003, Chai Jing covered for television the epidemic of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), an infectious lung disease that first appeared in China. In 2008, after the powerful earthquake in Sichuan, she went there and lived for some time with the refugees to bear witness to their difficult living conditions. The following year, Chai Jing abandoned investigative work to focus on animation, presenting 24 Hours, One on One then the weekend edition of Seeing .

Under the Dome , a committed documentary

After marrying photographer Zhao Jia, Chai Jing becomes pregnant. While pregnant, she learns that her baby has developed a tumor in the womb. The child must be operated on shortly after birth; his mother then took a close look at the environmental problems in China, and in particular the air pollution.

From 2014 to 2015, Chai Jing self-financed a long investigation on smog , air pollution in China, collating data, factory tours, interviews with environmental experts, factory managers and government officials. In March 2015, she released her documentary Under the Dome available online, and free of charge. Her film, which she provides commentary, implicates the energy sector and heavy industry and directly accuses large Chinese companies.

The film was a dazzling success and caused a real awakening of consciences on the extent of the problem of air pollution in China. In three days, Under the Dome , a nearly two-hour film, has over 150 million views; a few days later, it is censored by the government.

In 2015, Chai Jing was named one of the 100 most influential people of the Time 100 .