by Yi Xiaocuo

Hi. Are you from Xinjiang and now living abroad like me? Are you suffering from anxiety and depression witnessing from afar what is going on in our dear homeland? Do you constantly feel your emotions being built up and repressed, too? Do you feel silenced by Chinese censorship and fear of your family getting punished?

Perhaps… art is a way to get it all out.

Like this one to wish my family a nice Eid…

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 dear families: For the many who are trapped behind the walls, for the many whose phone has become not a convenience, but a time bomb or a spy device, for the many who cannot hear what their families are really saying, for the many who have a smile on their faces, but cry on the inside.

This perpetual silence, stigma, and violence we always face alone…

Daily reflection of a Xinjiang person. by Yi Xiaocuo.

English translation of the Chinese characters from top to bottom:
Western region, good at drinking, separatism, uncivilized, backward, cult, frontier, good at singing and dancing, kebab, Xinjiang dance, ethnic minority, east Turkistan, poverty, superstitious, independence, hand-pulled noodle, backward, traitor, thief district, terrorism, extremism, exotic, little sister, undeveloped, pretty, sexy, foreign forces.

Or this rendering of WeChat, one of the only communication apps allowed in China, which has become so insidious and dangerous to use…

WeChat Monster. by Yi Xiaocuo.
WeChat can disclose user information in response to the Chinese government’s request. It is a highly monitored surveillance tool keeping track of people’s locations, conversations, and activities.

While China’s global influence is looming large, we are reminded again and again of the ways we are treated as Muslims or “ethnic minorities.” More than ever, we come to realize the importance of social justice and standing in solidarity with other groups facing similar threats.

I sketched these 2008 Beijing Olympics mascots wearing police uniforms in order to show the experiences of Xinjiang minorities when they are stopped by police on the streets, at security checkpoints, at airport customs, or when they encounter nationalistic Chinese.

“Beijing Bullies: Olympic series 1,” by Yi Xiaocuo

Being scanned multiple times is a daily procedure people have to endure in Xinjiang, and the government has confiscated everybody’s passports for “safe keeping.”

“Beijing Bullies: Olympic series 1,” by Yi Xiaocuo

Winter Olympics are scheduled to be held in Beijing in 2022. By then, will our families and friends be released? Will the re-education camps still be open and will our loved ones still be exploited for prison labor? How can we contribute in raising global awareness of the unethical Beijing Olympics while the camps are up and running?

“Beijing Bullies: Olympic series 2,” by Yi Xiaocuo

Join me to express your opinions through art and design. Join me in having your voices heard. As you can see, I am no artist. You don’t have to be one either. The most important thing is your well-being and freedom to express yourself. If you are concerned for safety, you can always submit anonymously.