Artist Shimizu Tomomi (清水ともみ) rendered Mihrigul Tursun‘s testimony given at US Congressional hearing in Manga form. Mihrigul’s testimony gave accounts of various torture and gender based violence inside one of the ‘re-education camps’ in Xinjiang. It is never easy to gather the courage to speak on the trauma and inhumane treatment from an unjust system, especially for Uyghurs; this could mean retaliation to their families from the Chinese government.
Badiucao’s Chilling Images of Xinjiang Camps
Badiucao created the work titled “Xinjiang Auschwitz” on the 10th anniversary of the “7.5 Incident” which happened in Xinjiang in 2009—a violent clash broke out after long-term ethnic tensions came to a head, and was also a turning point for massive police surveillance and securitization of Xinjiang. The other work, “China’s Doctor of Death,” is inspired by an actual leaked photo from a concentration camp in Xinjiang. His work is an excellent visualization of how government policy aims to re-engineer Uyghur minds.
The Simpsons in Xinjiang
by Yi Xiaocuo, Oct 14, 2019 In light of the PRC government’s overreach and censorship in the US today, this comic visualizes a thought experiment in which the American pop culture icons—The Simpsons—stand in the shoes of the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic people in Xinjiang.
by Yi Xiaocuo WeChat, one of the only communication apps allowed in China, has become so insidious and dangerous to…
Eid Mubarak: A Phone Call with Family
by Yi Xiaocuo This sketch is for the many of us who can’t return home to celebrate Eid with our…
Border – A Song of Transnational Sorrow
In the past a few days, this song went viral on Kazakh social media. It expresses the transnational sorrow of Kazakhs from China’s Xinjiang, who are now stranded in Kazakhstan and separated from their families. “Shekara” (pronounciation chegara) means border in the Kazakh language, here it specifically refers to the Sino-Kazakhstan border.
“How I survived”: Remembering Camp Days in Poems
Before Anar Sabit’s story became public, I had read her poems online. They are full of poignant and vivid details perceived from inside the camp and personal experiences such as being on night guard duty, taking yard time, and witnessing the arbitrary detention and suffering of others with her own eyes. When I reached out to Anar to discuss the inspiration for these poems she told me that after what she had experienced in the camp and returning to the free world she had nightmares for an entire year. She has suffered from depression, fear, and low self-esteem. There was a time when she didn’t know if she could go on. Then one day she was advised to channel these traumas through writing. Anar humbly said that she is not really a writer or a poet type, but simply wanted to document what had happened to her and not forget them.
A Collection of Visual Stories
It’s said that absence makes the heart grow fonder but, what if it just makes it feel emptier? Anyone who has lost someone they love can relate to this feeling. However, what if they just disappeared? Lacking information and holding on to memories from years past, Uyghur, Kazakh, and other minority groups in Xinjiang face this reality.
“Our days became dark, and the nights even darker.” — Kazakh lyrical poem condemning state violence in Xinjiang
Written by Yi Xiaocuo This is a Kazakh song by an anonymous singer. It is in a traditional oral art…
‘A Uyghur Poet in Fairfax’ by Nuo Ya
This is Tahir Hamut, one of the most renowned contemporary Uyghur poets, starting his life all over again in US at 47 years old. Displacement is not just the physical removal of one’s body from their native land. In the film, the psychological stress of uprooting and struggling hides in the silent gestures of his performance. Tahir is still writing, he writes poignantly about the distance between all the capital cities in which he has lived his life: Urumqi, Beijing, and Washington DC. The experiences of everyday life as an exile, a transnational being, struggles with immigration paperwork, survival, and witnessing the violence in homeland from afar… still linger and shape his poetry.
Under surveillance: Artworks from Kazakhstan
The mounting evidences of artificial intelligence surveillance and arbitrary detention in Xinjiang exacerbated the already tense public anxiety due to the worsening human rights condition in Kazakhstan. Surveillance becomes one of the key themes in artistic expression in Kazakhstan civil society.
Letter to China: My Uyghur friend Zainur has been detained in one of your camps for two years
What is it like to be a Uyghur student in Beijing suddenly snatched up by the Chinese police state? Addy McTague writes about the friendship she had with Zainur, a Uyghur student graduated from Beijing University of Chemical Technology. Zainur is disappeared by China’s Muslim crackdown since 2017. Addy, back in US, recollects her memories with Zainur and submitted a testimony for her.
Wake Up! -Solidarity from Kazakhstan
On December 9, 2019, Kazakhstan National Security Committee announced the decision that Murager Alimuly and Qaster Musakhanuly, two young Kazakh men who fled Xinjiang, will be deported to China. This angered Kazakhstan public. A civil group took to action.
By an anonymous singer friend. Shared with artist’s permission on Sep 17, 2019. Featured image is credited to photographer Theo Paul. Quite a self-explanatory video telling the lived experience of Turkic speaking peoples in Xinjiang at the moment: family separation, cultural genocide, surveillance, forced inter-ethnic marriage, home invasion and spying, forced wage labor, state orphanage/residential school…
An Unanswered Telephone Call: a film by Aziz Isa Elkun
This short film is based on Aziz Isa Elkun’s real life experience. Just like every ordinary British citizen, he takes his daughter to school on a beautiful day; just like every Uyghur living in exile, he has lost contact with his family, even their well-being has become questionable. Aziz interrogates this painful disjuncture and his identity becomes the answer. Yet, he tirelessly explains to the world what happened, unraveling his childhood, youth, and generational trauma inflicted by the Chinese state.