Directed by Ruby Yang and written by Thomas Lennon, The Warriors of Qiugang is a short documentary following the degradation of a small Chinese village due to industrial pollution and the story of the villagers who become advocates and stand up for the health of their world and their families, even in the face of grave danger.
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.
“We are sorry to be born in this place,” says Zhang, “but we had no choice. This was forced upon us.”