Uygher Essential Reading

17 09 21

The depth of the repression ranges from petty surveillance all the way up to to state sponsored rape, child separation and the torture and internment of over a million men and women.

Information has been slow to reach the outside world from China, a totalitarian state administered by the Communist Party, but diligent and determined work by journalists, human rights activists and academics has meant that a true picture of what is happening to Uyghurs has emerged piece by piece over the last couple of years, though the recent measures can be traced back to the inception of the ‘Strike Hard’ policy in 2014.

There is now a significant body of journalism on the plight of the Uyghur people, but it can be difficult to understand how it all fits together. We recommend reading, watching or listening to the following essential items of reporting if you wish to understand the main issues.

  • If you only have time to look at one thing, start with this comprehensive report from Vox which outlines the main actions being taken against the Uyghur people and the context.

China’s Secret Internment Camps: 

  • The Chinese state’s current oppression of the Uighur people is part of a longstanding tension that traces it way back to the formation of modern China. This easy to read visual history from Coda Story is a helpful primer on how we arrived at today’s situation.

China’s oppression of Xinjiang’s Uyghurs: a visual history

  • At the end of last year, The New York Times, secured one of the most significant leaks from inside China’s ruling Communist Party in decades. The huge document trove gave an unprecedented insight into the crackdown in Xinjiang.

Absolutely No Mercy’: Leaked Files Expose How China Organized Mass Detentions of Muslims 

Alternatively, we recommend listening to this episode of the NYT’s The Daily podcast which accompanied this story:

  • BBC correspondent John Sudworth gained rare access to the vast system of highly secure facilities thought to be holding more than a million Uighur detainees, uncovering important evidence about their true nature and internal conditions.

Inside China’s ‘Thought Transformation’ camps

If you want to know more, we also recommend this New York Times undercover report inside a labour relocation programme.

  • This comprehensive long read from The Guardian details the extensive hi-tech surveillance deployed against the population in Xinjiang. (A podcast version is also available.

China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority

  • The title of Washington Post editor Fred Hiatt’s piece caused some online controversy, outlining the scale of the systematic attempt to destroy Uighur culture.

In China, Every Day is Kristallnacht

  • Family life is not being spared in the sweeping repression; children are removed from families and wives are forced to host state sponsored male ‘guardians’ whilst their husbands are detained. Here BBC News details the disappearance of Uighur children and uncovers evidence that points to a deliberate policy.

Xinjiang: China, where are my children?

To understand more you can watch this Sky News’ attempt to locate missing Uighur children.

More information on the allegations of sexual violence within the “Pair Up and Become Family” programme can be found in this report and on the torture of female internees here and here.


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