Farmer's harvest of reality (5)

10:47, June 10, 2010      

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Risks of shooting

After his film made Premier Wen intervene in a dispute, Jia became busier; more and more aggrieved people came to him. "I strongly feel that the living condition and basic human rights of farmers were not guaranteed," Jia sighed.

However, he believes that people, from government employees to underground elements, have different "theories" on him. "Some suspected that I was a spy colluding with evil, anti-China gangs; some said it was illegal for me to make documentaries; some invited me to negotiate in their offices; some warned me not to ruin their reputation. But, mostly, those 'captured' exploded and threatened to destroy my camera", Jia said. From time to time, he sneaked the camera into government buildings by concealing it in baggy sleeves or under his armpit.

Last October, a villager Li Shibing, 72, came knocking at Jia's door. Li had filed a petition as he didn't get enough compensation after being relocated by the authorities.

"He begged me to record evidence for him, but I refused since I was under great pressure during that period," Jia said in a tone of regret.

Out of sheer desperation, the poverty-stricken farmer drank pesticide and collapsed at home some 20 days later.

When faced with such situations, Jia said, "I kept asking myself: What is the function of my camera?"


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