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China Screen: Burning Fields

Year: 2017, 75 mins
Code: IC-CSBurning

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In the countryside, local officials combat farmers who burn straw in their fields.

In some Chinese regions, a daily struggle wreaks havoc. The belligerents: peasants who want to improve their soil by burning straw and officials, whose ecological mission is the preservation of water and air.

Harvesting and planting are the main activity of farmers, and the potassium produced by burning straw can improve crops at a lower cost while protecting them against insects. Officials made up of party members as well as the local authorities, for their part, want to strengthen measures against these practices: they want additional teams as well as funds and ask the regional authorities for a greater degree of autonomy in they combat against burning fields.

There is no clear outcome to this conflict as each side has its own good reasons. Will the officials succeed in bringing down the peasants, or will they resist successfully? This film depicts a conflict that shows another, unseen facet of contemporary rural China.

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