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Hooligan Sparrow

State surveillance. Harassment. Imprisonment. HOOLIGAN SPARROW follows the Chinese activist Ye Haiyan, AKA Sparrow, as she seeks justice for six school girls who were sexually abused by their principal and continues fighting for the rights of sex workers.

Director: Nanfu Wang
Year: 2016
Time: 84 min
Club Member Rating:
 Huligansparven
(2016) on IMDb

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Ways to Influence

Share this film. This documentary is an important voice to be heard in the ongoing fight for Human rights.

Help fight human rights abuses and honor those who speak out by supporting the non-profit, nongovernmental, worldwide organization Human Rights Watch.

Be an advocate. While Chinese women’s rights activists’ voices are being silenced and their bodies detained, you can voice the need to address gender inequality and the violation of women’s human rights via the Nobel Women’s Initiative.

Join the #FreeThe20 Campaign to draw attention and awareness to the 20 women’s rights activists imprisoned around the world, including Chinese human rights lawyer, Wang Yu, as seen in HOOLIGAN SPARROW.

Contact your local government representative. Letters can keep officials informed and can lead to political pressure to release prisoners

Related Articles and Resources

Podcast Interview with Director Nanfu Wang

“Nanfu Wang talks about the dangers of making her Oscar contending doc ‘Hooligan Sparrow’ and how the Chinese government has targeted her parents since the film was shortlisted for Best Documentary consideration by the Academy.”

Listen to the podcast episode from IndieWire Toolkit.

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

Ye Haiyan’s activism has inspired the art of Ai Weiwei. Explore the film which takes a fascinating up-close look at renowned Chinese artist and activist.

‘Hooligan Sparrow’ Fights For Justice For Sexually Assaulted Schoolgirls

“Nanfu Wang, who filmed Hooligan Sparrow, has much in common with Ye Haiyan. Both women grew up in poor farming villages in China. Wang dropped out of school at age 12 when her father died so she could work to support the family. She taught herself English, earned a fellowship to study English language and literature at Shanghai University and went on to pursue journalism and film in the U.S., where she now lives.”

Read the article and interview on NPR.

Media Censorship in China

“China’s central government has cracked down on press freedom as the country expands its international influence, but in the internet age, many of its citizens hunger for a free flow of information.”

Read more on Council on Foreign Relations.

Chinese sex workers protest against crackdown

” ‘Our society has many problems that are neglected by the public and prostitution is one of them,’ Ye Haiyan, the activist and sex worker at the forefront of last week’s demonstration, said today.”

Read the article from 2010 featuring Ye Haiyan, from The Guardian.

Chinese Feminist ‘Hooligan Sparrow’ Faces Eviction by Beijing Authorities

“Chinese artist and feminist Ye Haiyan, known as ‘Hooligan Sparrow,’ the eponymous subject of an award-winning documentary about her activism, is facing eviction from her home in Beijing’s Songzhuang artists’ village after she wrote an essay criticizing the Maoist left.”

Read more on Radio Free Asia.

China activists launch campaign against paedophiles: ‘Call me, not schoolchildren’

In a photo that came to inspire hundreds, Ye is seen holding a banner that reads: “Principal, call me if you’d like to get a room, leave the pupils alone.” Ye signed it with her name and “12338”, a national helpline for women.

See the pictures in the article on South China Morning Post.

Filmmaker Statement

“I’ve never had illusions about fairness in China’s justice system or the accountability of its government. But I never expected to see ordinary people turn on their neighbors who were fighting for their rights. I never expected to be attacked by screaming mobs just for filming on the street…”

Read the full statement on PBS POV.

The State of Chinese Social Media in 2016: What You Need to Know

“Trusted Information in China can be scarce, while the plentiful information on social media such as news, word of mouth and rumors is often the type of content that cannot be found anywhere else, even with government regulators keeping a close watch. This makes social media more important in China than most global markets.”

Read the full article on Ad Age.

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