Nanfu Wang’s nail-biting debut feature documentary Hooligan Sparrow, tells the story of Chinese feminist activist Ye Haiyan, during a 2013 protest against light sentences handed down to sex offenders who abused six schoolgirls from Hainan Province. The victims, aged 11 to 14, who went missing for close to 24 hours, later turned out to have spent the night at a hotel with their school principal and his accomplice, who paid them $2,000 and abused them. “At the time, the police, the government and the media were saying this was not rape,” Wang told Deborah Roberts, a correspondent for ABC News, when she was interviewed at the 2016 Women in the World New York Summit. “There [was] a law in China: As long as the rapist can prove they paid money or a gift, it would make it prostitution.”
Watch the trailer for Hooligan Sparrow:
Hooligan Sparrow — the pen name of Ye — disagreed with this law (which has since been repealed) but her outspoken protest cast her and her colleagues as enemies of the state. Wang’s guerilla documentary details what happened next.
The documentary will premiere on PBS‘s POV on Monday night.
Watch filmmakers Nanfu Wang and Safa al-Ahmad at the 2016 Women in the World New York Summit: