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The Warriors of Quigang 2010

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Cinema Guild, 115 West 30th Street, Suite 800, New York, NY 10001; 212-685-6242
Produced by Thomas Lennon & Ruby Yang
Directed by Ruby Yang
DVD , color, 88 min.

Jr. High - Adult
Asian Studies, Environmental Studies

Date Entered: 05/02/2011

Reviewed by Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State University Libraries, Bowling Green, OH

This film explores environmental concerns in one Chinese village in Anhui Province from 2007 to 2010. Zhang Gongli, an undereducated farmer distressed by the chemical pollution that has poisoned his water and destroyed his crops, leads the Quigang citizenry in a battle with Jiucailuo chemical company and corrupt local officials allowing Jiucailuo to ignore federal environmental laws. Stakes are high. The villagers cannot afford to relocate. In 2003, protesters of pollution by the state-owned company that later became Jiucailuo were attacked and beaten. The villagers again fear violence at the hands of local officials or the district police, and feel powerless against the chemical industries supplying the bribe money that insures continued production. If Zhang and the villagers fail, they feel they will leave nothing as heritage to future generations in Quigang, a devastated area once known as Zaolin or Date Orchard Village.

Though it takes much time and persistence, the citizens’ concerns can finally be heard in a China that has become serious about environmental problems. National and Provincial EPAs do enforce strict environmental laws and increasingly, groups like the Green Anhui NGO that helped Quigang villagers fight Jiucailuo are able to provide logistical assistance to local environmental groups and helps with publicity for local causes. Sensitive filmmakers like Lennon and Yang do enormous good bringing the plight of victims of pollution and corrupt politics to the attention of those in and outside China. Though Quigang appears to have been a victory, it is still a long, perilous, uphill struggle for the underprivileged in China.

The Warriors of Quigang is highly recommended to those interested in changes to Chinese society and governance, as well as to those interested in our global environment.