Farmers rely on their land for survival. However, in China, those who rely on their land have neither ownership of this land, nor the guarantee of land-use rights, Farmers have paid an especially heavy price in their efforts to protect their land-use rights in the face of accelerated industrialization and urbanization perpetuated by the government and business enterprises. This film documents the forced demolition and relocation of two villages over the course of 5 years, from 2005 to 2009.
The stories take place in the Maying and Liyuan villages, both located just outside of Beijing. In the spring of 2005, an enterprise began construction of a factory on the Maying Village farmland, which resulted in the demolition of 54 farm houses. The farmers reacted fiercely. The Party Secretary of the village, Zhao Youcang, found himself struggling between his roles as an official and citizen, as the policy he implemented caused him to become one of the farmers whose house was to be destroyed. Under the leadership of farmer Zhao Jundong, protesting farmers began a tug-of-war with the local governing committee officials …
Meanwhile, 3 kilometers away in the Liyuan village, more than 20 farmers endured the hardships of forced demolition and relocation. With the help of lawyers, they sued the development zone management committee in local court for the refusal to compensate farmers for their land after the demolitions, delayed relocation, and illegal breach of agreement during the construction of the ENN Art Avenue.
In the Liyuan village, villager Zhang Lianzhong’s parents both lay paralyzed in bed. The changes in their living situations have caused the elderly much suffering. Zhang’s mother drinks heavily everyday to ease her sorrow, waiting for death. Zhang Liangzhong has fallen deeper and deeper into desperation, but must still take care of his more desperate parents.
The huge waves of change caused by the demolition and relocation of these farmers has not only affected their physical living situations, but also their psychological well-being.
Wang Qingren, began to make documentary since 2002. His works include:
In the Military Training Camp (producer, sound recording), 2003
Floating Du (producer), 2003
Camp China (director, camera, editor), 2004
The last picture (director, camera, editor), 2005
Chorus (director, camera, editor), 2007
Game Theory (director, camera, editor), 2009
From The Director
Facing the threat of land-use rights, farmers in the Liyuan and Maying villages are doing everything in their power to beat the system. Intense verbal confrontations are matched by under-the-radar strategic manuvering. This situation reflects the conditions of survival for present-day rural villages and their peasants.
Game Theory illustrates the delicate interactions between the government and the farmers, as well as the subtle changes in the rules of the game between the officials and citizens under the current administrative system.
Struggle is (part of) social progress. Through (ongoing) struggle, China is gravitating ever closer toward a more democratic society
These struggles have resulted in many losses for both the government and the farmers, but have contributed to the growth of society as a whole. The struggle continues…
※The 34th HKIFF, Humanitarian Documentary Competition section, 2010
※The 7th China Independent Film Festival, Top 10 best documentary, 2010
※The 2nd Macau International Movie Festival, documentary competition, 2010
※Yunnan Multi Culture Visual Festival Competition section, 2011