The Warriors of Qiugang: A Chinese Village Fights Back by : Yale Environment 360

Like many villages in China’s industrial heartland, Qiugang — a hamlet of nearly 1,900 people in Anhui province — has long suffered from runaway pollution from nearby factories. In Qiugang’s case, three major enterprises with little or no pollution controls churned out chemicals, pesticides, and dyes, turning the local river black, killing fish and wildlife, and filling the air with foul fumes that burned residents’ eyes and throats and sickened children.

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.

This exclusive e360 video report, “The Warriors of Qiugang” — co-produced by Yale Environment 360 — tells the story of how the villagers fought to transform their environment, and, in the process, found themselves transformed as well.

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The Warriors Of Qiugang_ A Chinese Village Fights Back
How can any human being watch stories like this and not weep for what we are doing to the future? And this is one of many stories of corporate abuse of our environment at the expense of human health and the species that share in these ecosystems with us. However, this film is also inspiring in that it relays a fighting spirit amongst those who through necessity fought to preserve their lives and recover balance.

And as we see, this type of blatant moral abandonment is not endemic to one race or creed. It is a fallacy of our species as a whole as a result of a world too tied to monetary value as opposed to the intrinsic natural value of our Earth. We are but an extension of that Earth. We are all a part of a wonderful, beautiful, mystical, empowering all inclusive experience. One we have yet to fully realize. May we all reach deep inside of ourselves to find that place within us where what is important translates to the preservation of this beautiful world around us as we seek to fight the powerful forces that would see that day of knowing never come. That is my wish.