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> The Short Documentary Film of “The Warriors of Qiugang”
Yifang Foundation partially funded the documentary short film “The Warriors of Qiugang”. It was nominated for the 82nd Oscar Award in 2010 for best documentary short subject, and was involved in various film festivals in many different countries and regions.

Introduction of the story:  In 2009, Dr. Eric Xu, the Founder of Yifang Foundation, supported the Academy Award winner Ruby Yang to produce the short documentary film of “The Warriors of Qiugang” on the theme of China’s environment protection. The film truthfully tells a story on how a group of villagers use their wisdom to fight for their rights.

How a 60-year-old villager managed to protect his village with a population of over 1000? This film shows how Zhang Gongli, a farmer from Qiugang village, Bengbu City in Anhui Province, has used traditional wisdom and modern approaches and skillfully united media, non-governmental environmental organizations and even government forces, to expel a polluting plant out of their village.

 

Synopsis:

Zhang Gongli, was a humble farmer before he became a community advocate in his sixties.
He was a busy livestock breeder focusing on making a living so he could take care of his family. He would have grown old slowly and peacefully if it wasn’t for three chemical plants that were opened near his village in 2004. The three chemical plants produced organic chemical products and were built in Qiugang village, Bengbu City in Anhui Province. When the waste water from the largest plant flooded his land, he suffered a complete crop failure. Frustrated by the outcome of the lawsuit, he studied relevant laws by himself and continued to file lawsuit against the plant. With no sign of help, he began an experience he would never have expected.

In 2007, the State Environment Protection Administration issued the pollution control and management policy for cities along China’s major rivers, to halt the ever-increasing industrial pollution, and Bengbu City was on this list. Green Anhui, a local environment-focused NGO created a survey in Qiugang Village to collect evidence of pollution and mobilized the media for support. In June of the same year, the local government ordered the chemical plant to be closed, but the plant was continuously operated secretly.

With the support of Green Anhui, Zhang Gongli went to Beijing to participate in a forum organized by experts and environmentalists. He came to realize that apart from the traditional appeals to the government, a more rational and effective way was to ally with environmental organizations and the media to negotiate with the chemical plant for real solutions. In early November, the chemical plant first contacted Mr. Gongli with a commitment to start a dialogue.

In late 2008, the Jiucailuo Chemical Plant was shut down by the local government, and in April 2009, the plant was relocated from Qiugang Village.

 

From the Producer:

This is a story of how an ordinary farmer led his villagers to fight for their own rights and finally succeeded in expelling a huge chemical plant out of their home village. The film presents the villagers memories, the injustice, appeal and frustration they felt, as well as the negative effects the factory had on people’s lives in the village.

Zhang Gongli, the pollution victim of Qiugang Village in Anhui Province, has filed lawsuits and applied traditional appeals to the government. After failing to receive a favourable outcome, he began to seek support from the media, environment-focused organizations, and finally he succeeded in pressuring the government to relocate the chemical plant. This is a successful battle of a farmer who changed his focus from his own to caring for all, and who developed an effective strategy to negotiate with the chemical plant on behalf of the villagers’ interests. This was made possible by his strategic actions consisting of situation analysis, support mobilization, and his proactive self-learning.

The thin line between the polluters and victims, and the interaction between the village and its people may seem too commonplace for any special attention. However, this has led to a vague but diversified interpretation of how farmers who are victims of pollution caused by the industrial development have broken the dual paradox of “You die or I die”. Therefore, this film is not a call to fight or celebrate a success story, but an example of how farmers can survive in a unique Chinese context.

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