Life Stories

The media listed in this page include interviews and testimonies of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and others who have experienced internment and the diasporic communities who are still subjected to intimidation and threat from Chinese state police.

This chronicle traces the lives of a “model” Uighur family’s experience of everyday racism, increasing state violence, and eventual interment in “reeducation” facilities despite toeing the party line at every turn.

A “5-Star Model Civilized Family” who once had a “small red plaque with five stars on it to the front gate of their house”  became targeted by the authorities for the “crime” of studying in Turkey.

This testimony written by a Han Chinese person growing up in Xinjiang documents the systemic repression and discrimination that his Uighur peers suffered over the years.

Weather Reports: Voices from Xinjiang

This piece from The Believer features Berlin-based journalist Ben Mauk, who interviews Xinjiang survivors who are now living in Kazakhstan.

This American Life: Black Box

This episode of This American Life focuses on the story of Abdurahman Tohti and his family who are separated between Xinjiang and Turkey. It shows how China’s grip on Uighur bodies extend beyond the border and showcases the average everyday life of one family under state surveillance, fear of prosecution, and yearnings for family intimacy.

Nowhere Feels Safe

This piece from Amnesty International documents the experiences of Uyghurs living abroad, who also feel reluctant to talked about their relatives living in Xinjiang, over fears of further retaliation.

A Summer Vacation in China’s Muslim Gulag

This article from Foreign Policy features an account of Iman, a university student of Uyghur descent studying in the United States, who found himself incarcerated for no reason in a Xinjiang detention centre when returning home for summer break. He was later released and allowed to return to the US, before being warned to be careful of what he says in North America.