Documentaries

The following section provides a constantly updated list of videos from both International and Chinese state-media sources that examine the operation of re-education camps and other forms of state-led political oppression in Xinjiang. These videos dive deep into both first-hand and second-hand accounts of the situation in Xinjiang, and feature the work of international investigative journalists documenting evidence through secretive filming and recording testimonies of both victims and state officials. Many of the videos here also contain footage of the re-education camps and their interiors.

International Media

Interviews

These videos show interviews with various Uyghurs around the world. They include previous detainees who have escaped abroad, and naturalized citizens elsewhere who continue to resist the Chinese government.

VICE News, 27 April 2020

The Uighur Journalists Reporting On China —from Washington DC

VICE’s Isobel Young interviews the journalists working for Radio Free Asia from Washington DC, who report on the persecution of Uyghurs in China on the only Uyhgur-speaking radio station outside of CCP control. This video shows that various attempts by the journalists to interview Chinese authorities in Xinjiang usually receive hostile responses.

VICE News, 17 February 2020

How China Targets Muslims for ‘Re-Education’ Camps — and Spies on Their Families

VICE’s Isobel Young interviews Asiye Abdulaheb, a Uyghur-Dutch woman who leaked a cache of documents detailing brutal practices within Chinese re-education camps and reasons officials cited to detain individuals.

VICE News, 25 November 2019

Former Detainees Describe Daily Routine Inside China’s ‘Re-education Camps’ (Part 2)

VICE’s Isobel Yeung interviews former detainees inside Chinese re-education camps, where they recall their horrible living conditions as well as the activities they were forced to take part in on a daily basis.

VICE News, 25 November 2019

Former Detainees Describe Daily Routine Inside China’s ‘Re-education Camps’ (Part 1)

VICE’s Isobel Yeung interviews former detainees inside Chinese re-education camps, where they describe the methods of torture they were subject to.

BBC, 25 November 2019

China’s Secret ‘Brainwashing’ Camps

Through examining leaked documents and interviews with past detainees, BBC details China’s systematic brainwashing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in a network of high-security prison camps for the first time.

Doha Debates, 21 August 2019

Uighur Refugees: Will I See My Family Again?

Interviews with Nur’iman Abdureshid and Ferkat Jawdat, former detainees within Chinese re-education camps who escaped the United States, reveal the ordeal they have been subject to as well as their uncertain futures.

BBC, 5 July 2019

Xinjiang: China, Where Are My Children?

BBC research provides new evidence that children in Xinjiang are being systematically separated from their families. In interviews with over 60 Uyghur parents, they discuss their children who have disappeared and even whole families targeted by authorities.

The Atlantic, 27 November 2018

China is Surveilling and Threatening Uighurs in the U.S.

This video first provides a background of ethnic tensions between Han Chinese and Uyghurs in Xinjiang, before diving into an interview with Tahir Iman, an Uyghur who came to the US in 2017 after fears of his arrest. He now works as an activist spreading awareness of internment camps in Xinjiang, where he and his colleagues continue to receive threats from the PRC Government to stop what they are doing.

The Wall Street Journal, 20 August 2018

Life Inside China’s ‘Re-Education’ Camps

Through interviews with escaped detainees, The Wall Street Journal reveals what goes on inside China’s growing network of internment camps in Xinjiang, such as the type of propaganda disseminated and the activities detainees are forced to take part in.

Investigative Reports

These videos show firsthand accounts of investigative journalists as they recount their observations in Xinjiang, most of them going undercover.

CBC, 26 April 2020

Inside China’s Digital Gulag

CBC’s The Passionate Eye undercover team investigates the Chinese government’s collaborative with technology firms to build extensive systems of mass social surveillance.

PBS, 7 April 2020

China Undercover

PBS’ FRONTLINE investigates the Chinese regime’s mass imprisonment of Muslims, and its use and testing of sophisticated surveillance technology against the Uyghur community.

ABC, 15 July 2019

How China Is Creating the World’s Largest Prison

ABC’s Four Corners investigates disturbing evidence of how China is effectively operating the world’s largest prison.

VICE News, 29 June 2019

China’s Vanishing Muslims: Undercover In The Most Dystopian Place In The World

VICE’s Isobel Young goes undercover as a tourist to for access to the Xinjiang region, where she experienced China’s Orwellian surveillance and harassment firsthand.

BBC, 18 June 2019

Inside China’s ‘Thought Transformation’ Camps

BBC reporters discuss their findings after given permission to access highly secure facilities thought to be holding more than a million Muslims in China’s western region of Xinjiang.

CNN, 8 May 2019

China Tries to Thwart CNN Investigation into Detention Camps

CNN’s Matt Rivers explains why his investigation into Chinese facilities are important, and the pushback he has received from Chinese authorities.

Video Explainers

These videos provide an overview of current events in Xinjiang, from the background of Xinjiang as a part of China and the ethnic tensions between Han Chinese and Uyghurs, to the process of how the PRC Government has turned Xinjiang into a surveillance state as well as the detainment of millions of Uyghurs.

The Economist, 9 July 2019

How China is crushing the Uighurs

This video highlights the PRC Government’s current efforts to detain millions of Uyghurs while setting up a state of constant surveillance within Uyghur communities. It also explains the geopolitical importance of Xinjiang to China’s foreign policy.

Vox, 7 May 2019

China’s secret internment camps

This video from Vox provides satellite evidence that China has been constructing and continuing to construct internment camps detaining Uyghurs. It also describes the ordeals experienced by detainees and responses from the international community.

BBC, 24 October 2018

China’s Hidden Camps

BBC gathers new evidence that China is building a vast network of internment camps for its Muslim population in the western region of Xinjiang.

The Economist, 24 October 2018

China: facial recognition and state control

The Economists presents the various technologies utilized by the PRC Government in creating the police state in Xinjiang.

ABC, 18 September 2018

Exposing China’s Digital Dystopian Dictatorship

ABC analyzes China’s sophisticated system of government surveillance and social credit system.

Chinese Official Media

Investigative Reports

These reports, led by Chinese state-owned China Global Television Network show that the PRC government has been building schools for Uyghurs which they justify as both de-radicalizing them and helping them build career-ready skills.  These reports are also focused on countering Western narratives that the vocational and training centres are concentration camps.

CGTN, 29 December 2019

What’s China’s ‘Re-Education Camp’ in Xinjiang Really About?

This CGTN video presents the government’s perspective, depicting the success of de-radicalization within vocational and training centres in Xinjiang, where many attendees have already left and found jobs.

CGTN, 29 December 2019

Inside an Abandoned ‘Re-Education Camp’ in Xinjiang

This CGTN video focuses on a re-education centre in Kashgar, a major city in Xinjiang. The report states that it has closed down since all attendees have graduated and picked up career-ready skills. A recent graduate discusses that many of his peers are much happier with their lives and already have jobs.

CGTN, 27 December 2019

Western Propaganda on Xinjiang ‘Camps’ Rebutted

This CGTN video sets out to dispel Western notions that schools built in Xinjiang are concentration camps. It argues that media showing the mistreatment of Uyghurs by local authorities are fake, as well as suggesting that there is a lack of evidence behind Uyghurs that have gone missing.

CGTN, 9 December 2019

China Exposes the Truth About Xinjiang, But the West ignores. Why?

This CGTN video disputes narratives that the schools built in Xinjiang are concentration camps. It also argues that western media holds a double standard regarding anti-terrorism and fighting extremism.

CGTN, 13 January 2019

By Following @CNN , We Find How They Make Fake News About Xinjiang

This CGTN video disputes the CNN report which claimed that graveyards within Xinjiang were being demolished by authorities according to interviews with local Uyghurs. However, CGTN contends that interviews with the same people show that these graves were voluntarily moved to new sites with better environmental protection.

Interviews

The videos below are prepared by Chinese official media for the Embracing New Life series, known as 拥抱新生活 in Chinese. They are all interviews with Uyghurs who have ‘graduated’ from vocational and training centres. Speaking in Mandarin Chinese, they discuss what they have learned in these centres and the careers that they are now able to lead, as well as their gratitude for having attended these centres.

Suggested reading: Yi Xiaocuo, “Saved’ by state terror: Gendered violence and propaganda in Xinjiang,” 2019.

Xinjiang China, 15 March 2019

An Interview of an Uyghur Woman in Xinjiang (Zulpiya Abdurishit)

Zulpiya Abdurishit, discusses that while on a honeymoon with her husband, they were both exposed to extremist thinking. She reflects that after her stay within state vocational and training centres, she was glad that she did not become a murderer and is now working as a preacher to save more compatriots from extremist behaviour.

Xinjiang China, 15 March 2019

An Interview of an Uyghur Woman in Xinjiang (Rukiya Yakup)

Rukiya Yakup recounts that she had been taught that she would be saved from sin if she married early and other forms of extremist thinking. At the state vocational and training centre, she realized that her daughter and herself were victims of her religion and that women could lead careers as well as men. She now works as a guide at the training centre and believes that she will have a bright future.

Xinjiang China, 4 March 2019

An Interview of an Uyghur Man in Xinjiang (Aysa Abliz)

Aysa Abliz recalls that due to his extremist beliefs, he thought that his wife was his servant and he even beat her. From his stay at a state vocational and training centre, he now understands the meaning of real love. His wife comments that he has become a changed man, where he now allows her to do as she wants and encourages her to find work.

Xinjiang China, 1 March 2019

An Interview of an Uyghur Man in Xinjiang (Ablizkhari Obul)

Ablizkhari Obul discusses how extremist Islamic ideology led him to believe that he would be damned if he followed his passion for painting. But after going to a state vocational and training centre, he recalls that he was encouraged to paint. Now he continues to paint and has also inspired his son to take up painting as well.

Xinjiang China, 26 February 2019

An Interview of an Uyghur Man in Xinjiang (Hamza Yakup)

Hamza Yakup remembers that he was brainwashed with extremist ideology after travelling abroad. After staying at a state vocational and training centre, he now understands the real motives of terrorists who follow such ideas. He hopes to become an actor in the future to promote Uyghur culture.

Xinjiang China, 25 February 2019

An Interview of an Uyghur Woman in Xinjiang (Akida Arislan)

Akida Arislan recalls that her preoccupation with extremist thinking prevented her from singing, dancing, and even mourning her father during his funeral. She states that her life has changed after going to a state vocational and training centre, where she rehearsed, performed, and made music videos. She reflects that she is now happier and works as a dance teacher.

Site Visits

These site visits, featured on the Chinese state-owned China News Service, focus on current attendees and trainees within various vocational and training centres. They depict the daily lives of the trainees, which include lessons on new career skills, Mandarin Chinese language training, and group activities. They are also actively encouraged to abandon habits and ideas that are considered ‘extremist or radical. ‘

CHINA LIVE, 16 March 2019

Visiting a Re-Education Camp in Xinjiang 5: Mother Finds Her Daughter Prettier

In an interview with a family whose daughter was sent to a state vocational and training centre, the mother finds that after returning, her daughter now has a more vibrant personality and has become prettier. The daughter also reflects that she has been enjoying art and music much more, activities that extremist ideologies had prohibited her from doing so.

Suggested reading: Tim Grose, “Beautifying Uyghur Bodies: Fashion, “Modernity”, and State Power in the Tarim Basin,” 2019

CHINA LIVE, 16 March 2019

Visiting a Re-Education Camp in Xinjiang 4: A Girl Unveils Herself and Opens a Beauty Shop

Within a state vocational and educational centre, female attendees are taught that it is socially acceptable to remove religious headwear and to wear makeup. Now they believe that they look more presentable and also think of opening their own beauty salons in the future.

CHINA LIVE, 15 March 2019

Visiting a Re-Education Camp in Xinjiang 3: Daily Life of Trainees

Reporters from state television examine the daily life of trainees attending vocational and educational centres. With the Lunar New Year approaching, they observe that students and teachers help each other prepare decorations and food for festivities. They also notice that students and teachers have largely bonded, as well as that the students have become livelier and more willing to express themselves.

CHINA LIVE, 15 March 2019

Visiting a Re-Education Camp in Xinjiang 2: Husband Learns to Respect Wife

Male attendees at a state vocational and educational centre are taught to care for and respect their wives. Concurrently, women are taught that it should be appropriate to wear makeup, and their husbands also comment that their wives look prettier.

Suggested reading: Yi Xiaocuo, “Saved’ by state terror: Gendered violence and propaganda in Xinjiang,” 2019.

CHINA LIVE, 15 March 2019

Visiting a Re-Education Camp in Xinjiang 1: Trainees Learn E-Commerce

Within state vocational and training centres, attendees are trained to use internet technology so they have the skills to integrate into mainstream society. Trainees reflect that not only have they learned more about technology, but that they have become more outgoing and made new friends. One trainee looks to start his own e-commerce business in the future.