Watch The Warriors of Qiugang, an Academy Award-nominated documentary about pollution in a Chinese village

Illustration for article titled Watch The Warriors of Qiugang, an Academy Award-nominated documentary about pollution in a Chinese village

The Warriors of Qiugang, a film up for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject), follows the residents of the 1900-person village of Quigang as they fight back against regional polluting factories. Watch it in full online.

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Quigang, which is in China's Anhui province, has been plagued by the toxic air pollution and run-off from three local factories. Thugs and governments cronies have tried to quash the villagers' complaints, but the people of Quigang are undeterred and are attempting to navigate China's byzantine environmental laws. Here's a synopsis of the documentary:

The pollution from the Jiucailuo Chemical plant became so egregious that in 2007, Qiugang's residents - working with a fledgling environmental group, Green Anhui - began to try to do something about it. Their efforts soon attracted the attention of Chinese-American filmmaker Ruby Yang, who with cinematographer Guan Xin and longtime collaborator Thomas Lennon, spent the ensuing three years chronicling the struggle of Qiugang's increasingly emboldened population to curb the pollution that was poisoning them in their homes, schools, and fields [...]

The 39-minute video focuses on an unlikely hero - farmer Zhang Gongli, now almost 60, who leads the village's fight to shut down the chemical plant. Soft-spoken and easy-going, but with a backbone of steel, Zhang - who has only a middle-school education - quickly learns how to use China's more stringent federal environmental laws to put pressure on the factory owners and their cronies in local and regional government.

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You can watch it in full over at Yale's Environment 360.

[Via Metafilter]

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DISCUSSION

I am a Kung Fu practitioner of 12 years, and I live my life according to taoist principles as best I can, so I owe a lot to China. But I think that China is so shameful. I'm stuck in a huge love/hate relationship with the place. My best friend moved there after college and lives and works in Beijing, married to a Beijinger woman. And even he, who is very invested in the country and has made it his home, has very little that is positive to report about the general everyday things that make up Chinese life (government bullshit, lack of compassion and courtesy) whenever we talk. I am planning to visit as soon as I can afford it, and to make visiting the country a yearly adventure, because I need to understand what the hell is going on there.

I just don't get it.