Genocide and Cultural Genocide in China

Here is my latest on China’s ongoing genocide — explaining how it’s really both genocide, according to the UN Convention, and cultural genocide — including the mass assault on Uyghur and other ethnic academics, intellectuals, and artists — and also, on the important potential of the ICC in prosecuting the perpetrators:

Genocide and Cultural Genocide in China.” By Magnus Fiskesjö. YetAgain [UK], June 28, 2022.

Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Xinjiang Police Files report

“Xinjiang Police Files: Images of horror outrage the world”, report München.

— this is an excellent ARD short film now translated into English, on the recent massive leak of grim photos of camp detainees, and other documents on the Xinjiang genocide, including further reconfirmation that Mr Xi Jinping himself personally is the chief leader instigating and driving the mass atrocities.  Includes discussion of the forensics of the photos and their authenticity, and the significance of this additional major leak of damning Chinese government files.

The film was earlier released In German:
Xinjiang Police Files – Bilder des Grauens empören die Welt. 24.05.2022 ∙ report MÜNCHEN ∙ Das Erste

More materials on the leak in this online bibliography (periodically updated) on the genocide in the Uyghur region (East Turkestan). There you find, for example, the BBC version:

Leaked data offers significant new insights into China’s Uyghur detention camps – John Sudworth,  BBC News, May 24, 2022. Continue reading

In conversation with Mukaddas Mijit

Source: Screen Worlds (nd)
In Conversation with Mukaddas Mijit
What can mainstream filmmakers do to listen better to creators from colonised worlds?
Mukaddas Mijit discusses Uyghur cultural expression and filmmaking along with her recent work, “A Poem About Exile” (2020).
Interviewed by David Tobin (The University of Sheffield).
Produced by Screen Worlds and The University of Sheffield. n.d. [2022].

Videos featured: (A Poem About Exile) (Uighur tradition meeting Palestinian music) (Momam: the great woman, 2012) (6 meters of Etles / Brooklyn Bridge – Mukaddas Mijit & Lisa Ross) (Qumul Muqam Center 2020) (L’ IMPROMPTUE DANSANTE PAR MUKADDAS MIJIT, XAVIER COLLET, BIJANE ETEMAD-MOGHADAM) (Ahim (I cry) by Ghojimuhemmed Muhemmed 2020) Ayshemgul Memet Ensemble & Mukaddas Mijit (traditional Uyghur music and dance, Morgenland Festival Osnabrueck) (2018 Biopics Muqueddes TLS, Guayabo Collectivo)

Posted by Magnus Fiskesjö,

Flowers of Lhasa

I am pleased to announce the publication of my translation of Flowers of Lhasa by Tsering Yangkyi. The novel, highly popular in Tibet, is a major milestone for Tibetan feminist writing, and is also one of the first Tibetan-language novels from the PRC to be translated into English. The book is published by Balestier Press:

Chris Peacock

Secret police files on China’s repression in Xinjiang (1)

Below is a list of additional readings on the Xinjiang Police Files, including the indefatigable Adrian Zenz’ admirable firsthand research and the reports of his collaborators, incl. the BBC, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and others. See below. I especially recommend the BBC materials as a starting point:

The faces from China’s Uyghur detention camps. By John Sudworth. BBC, 24 May 2022.

Leaked data offers significant new insights into China’s Uyghur detention camps – John Sudworth,  BBC News, May 24, 2022.

Hacked files reveal Chinese “shoot-to-kill” policy in Uighur detention camps – John Sudworth, BBC News, May 24, 2022.

“新疆公安文件”:中国拘留营中维吾尔人的面孔, by 沙磊(John Sudworth). BBC 新闻. 2022年5月25日

The Xinjiang Police Files. Unprecedented evidence from internal police networks in China’s Xinjiang region proves prison-like nature of re-education camps, shows top Chinese leaders’ direct involvement in the mass internment campaign. A project of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. n.d. [MAY 2022].

The Xinjiang Police Files: Re-Education Camp Security and Political Paranoia in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Author; Adrian Zenz. Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies 3 (2022). Continue reading

Secret police files on China’s repression in Xinjiang

Source: El Pais (5/24/22)
Secret police files put a face to China’s repression in Xinjiang: Child prisoners and ‘shoot to kill’ orders
A leak of confidential documents has revealed the scale of the prison system against the Uyghur Muslim minority

An inmate at a re-education center in Tekes.

An inmate at a re-education center in Tekes.

China’s extensive and brutal campaign of repression against Xinjiang’s Uyghur Muslim minority is taking on a face for the first time. Tens of thousands of police files, photographs and official documents by senior officials of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to which EL PAÍS has had access offer unparalleled proof of the magnitude of the prison system established in China’s far western region of Xinjiang and the paranoia that guides Beijing’s policies against ethnic minorities. The investigation was led by Adrian Zenz, a German scholar and expert on the Xinjiang internment campaign, in collaboration with 14 media outlets from 11 countries.

Named the Xinjiang Police Filesthe cache of secret documents makes it possible to identify thousands of inmates in so-called re-education centers built by China, including minors; to determine their internment status; and to show through images taken inside the facilities how officers practice detention, interrogation and abuse. The files also detail instructions for the police officers that are reminiscent of prison routines, and contain transcripts of public speeches by top leaders of the CPC in Xinjiang, among them the former regional secretary Chen Quanguo, showing support for the doctrine of maximum security against prisoners, and advising to open fire if a prisoner compromises the safety of the camp or tries to escape. Continue reading

Oral Histories of Tibetan Women

I would like to report the publication of my new book: Oral Histories of Tibetan Women: Whispers From the Roof of the World (Oxford and New York, Routledge, 2022). It is part of the Routledge Research in Gender and History series.

Book Description

Through the translated stories of twenty Tibetan women of various backgrounds, ages and occupations who were alive in the twentieth century, this book presents broad, under-explored and engaging perspectives on Tibetan culture and politics, ethnicity or mixed ethnicity, art, marriage, religion, education and values.

Offering a unique spectrum of primary sources, this book showcases interviews which were recorded in the 1990s and early 2000s which faithfully document Tibetan women telling their stories in their own words and situate these stories in their historical and socio-cultural contexts. These women were historically and religiously significant, such as a tulku (an incarnate), and tribal and local leaders, as well as ordinary women, such as poor peasants, the urban poor and women in polyandrous marriages.

An important and unique contribution to the understanding of Tibetan women, this book is a valuable resource for those in the fields of anthropology, women and gender studies, applied history, contemporary China studies and Indigenous studies.

Lily Xiao Hong Lee

Rose Boy

Source: SupChina (5/11/22)
‘Rose Boy’: How a death on campus changed LGBTQ education in Taiwan
The 22nd anniversary of the death of “Rose Boy” was commemorated in China, while the media coverage of an empowering song named after him attracted criticism for downplaying its progressive message.
By Nathan Wei

Illustration for SupChina by Derek Zheng

Welcome to our new China LGBTQ Column, a fortnightly round-up of news and stories related to the sexual and gender minority population in Greater China.

April 20 marked the 22nd anniversary of the death of Yeh Yung-chih (叶永志 Yè Yǒngzhì), also known as “Rose Boy” (méiguī shǎonián 玫瑰少年), an iconic figure in Chinese-speaking LGBTQ communities around the world.

On the morning of April 20, 2000, Yeh, who was at the time a junior high student in Taiwan, asked his teacher to go to the bathroom in the middle of a class. A few minutes later, he was found lying unconscious in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor. Yeh later died of head trauma at a local hospital at the age of 15. An investigation concluded it was an accident: as Yeh rushed back to the classroom, he slipped and fell head-first onto the wet floor in the bathroom.

Prior to his death, Yeh suffered verbal and physical bullying by schoolmates due to his non-conforming gender expression. Despite multiple complaints lodged by his mother, the school did nothing to improve the situation. Although there was no direct evidence connecting the incident to his past experience of being bullied, Yeh’s plight attracted a great deal of public attention and prompted local queer activists to advocate for more inclusive education on diverse sexuality and gender identities in school. Yeh’s mother, Chen Chun-ju (陈君汝 Chén Jūnrǔ), has also been participating in social activism proactively to seek justice for her son and to reach out to other youth. Continue reading

The rise of Chinese nonfiction

Source: Sixth Tone (3/16/22)
From Soundbites to Deep Dives: The Rise of Chinese Nonfiction
Dutch researcher Tabitha Speelman shares her observations on China’s nonfiction boom.
Interviewers: Xue Yongle, Fu Beimeng, and Xie Anran; editor: Kilian O’Donnell.

CSA-Printstock/iStock/VCG, reedited by Ding Yining/Sixth Tone.

As part of the Sixth Tone China Writing Contest, Sixth Tone is publishing interviews with contest judges in which they share their personal takes on the contest’s theme of “generations” and the value of nonfiction writing. To learn more about the contest, click here.

In 2017, the Dutch journalist Tabitha Speelman, then based in Beijing, started the Changpian newsletter. Her goal? To introduce China’s burgeoning nonfiction writing scene to readers around the world. An avid reader of Chinese media, she selected stories from a mix of traditional outlets and emerging WeMedia platforms. The idea was to reach beyond the soundbites that dominated international coverage of China and instead immerse China-watchers in longer narratives about human-interest topics and day-to-day life in the country.

Unlike English-language nonfiction, which is a far broader genre, Chinese nonfiction is a descendant of the country’s decades-old tradition of literary reporting. Speelman started Changpian at a time when this longform reporting tradition was being revived and repurposed for the social media era. Readers devoured real and dramatic stories from around China on platforms like microblogging site Weibo and messaging app WeChat, and major outlets soon started launching new sections dedicated to longform nonfiction writing. Continue reading

Gender bending in fiction and real life

Source: SupChina (3/25/22)
Gender bending in China, in fiction and real life
We asked journalist and culture writer Jin Zhao all about Chinese queer radio plays and homoerotic fiction, genres that have a surprisingly large fan base in China.
By Jeremy Goldkorn

Illustration by Alex Santafé.

China is not a progressive country when it comes to LGBTQ rights and social acceptance. But it’s not all heteronormative: The country is, in some ways, surprisingly tolerant of non-binary ideas about gender, and one of the most vibrant and popular genres of Chinese fiction is danmei (耽美 dānměi), stories of gay male romances. To help us understand what is going on, I spoke to Jin Zhao. We talked last week by video chat. This is an abridged, edited transcript of our conversation.—Jeremy Goldkorn

You’ve recently written about danmei for SupChina. What is danmei? Who writes it and who reads it?

Danmei is a genre of fiction in China that features male protagonists, who over the course of the story will develop romantic or sexual relationships. It’s a kind of fiction that features a same-sex male romantic relationship. And…

But it’s not necessarily gay men who are the most avid consumers of it, right?

Not really. I mean, at least in China, they are most popular among women readers. Data from one of the most prominent websites that publishes danmei fiction, Jinjiang Literature City, indicates that 93% of their users are women. And they tend to be young women as well, because 84% of these readers are aged 18 to 35. So they are most likely young women in China who are reading these novels.


I think, from conversations that I had with these fans, these readers, most say that because they are unsatisfied with heterosexual romantic stories, romances, because the female characters are not portrayed as full human beings who go about doing things. Continue reading

Highlights from 2022 Spring Festival Gala

Source: SupChina (2/2/22)
Five highlights from the 2022 Spring Festival Gala: From standup comedy to blessings from outer space
The annual television extravaganza that is China Central Television’s Spring Festival Gala is much derided — some call it a “craptacular.” But it is one of the most-watched TV shows on the planet. This year it featured American style standup comedy for the first time and a live feed from astronauts aboard China’s space station.
By Jiayun Feng

Despite China’s stringent zero-COVID strategy, Omicron and Delta outbreaks have been identified in multiple provinces in the past few months. Efforts have been heightened to minimize the risk of cross-infections at the Beijing Winter Olympics, which will kick off this Friday.

But even amid all the uncertainties surrounding China’s COVID situation, there’s one constant in Chinese people’s cultural life that happens every year no matter what, and that’s Spring Festival Gala (春节联欢晚会 chūnjié liánhuān wǎnhuì, or 春晚 chūnwǎn for short) — an annual event broadcast by China Central Television (CCTV) on Lunar New Year’s Eve.

This year’s program, aired on Monday evening local time, was the 40th edition of the gala and the third one to take place since COVID hit the country. Even with a fully masked audience, the show still managed to feel like old times as a star-studded lineup of pop singers, dance troupes, and comedians took to the stage.

You can watch the entire show on CCTV Chunwan’s official YouTube channel, or look out for these highlights: Continue reading

Uyghur skier vanishes from spotlight

Source: Wall Street Journal (2/6/22)
A Uyghur Skier Became the Face of China’s Winter Olympics. The Next Day, She Vanished From the Spotlight.
Chinese athlete and Olympic torch carrier Dinigeer Yilamujiang finished 43rd in her Olympic debut
By Liza Lin and Elaine Yu

Dinigeer Yilamujiang became an overnight celebrity in China following the opening ceremony, touted as a symbol of national unity. Credit: MATTHIAS HANGST/GETTY IMAGES

ZHANGJIAKOU, China—She was the face of Friday’s Olympic opening ceremony: a young Uyghur athlete from Xinjiang, the center of human-rights allegations dividing China and the West, carrying the Olympic flame for the host nation.

By Saturday, the 20-year-old cross-country skier, Dinigeer Yilamujiang, had given the slip to an eager global press, her lackluster finish in her Olympic debut barely mentioned in the Chinese media.

The catapulting of Ms. Yilamujiang into the global spotlight, followed by a low-key retreat, marked a remarkable 24-hour whirlwind for the hitherto-unknown athlete.

On Friday night, as Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin watched from the VIP booth at the Beijing National Stadium, Ms. Yilamujiang was the surprising—and immediately contentious—choice for what acclaimed Chinese film director and opening ceremony maestro Zhang Yimou had promised would be “a bold and unprecedented way of lighting the Olympic flame.” Continue reading

Uyghur kids recall torment at Chinese boarding schools

The report below is on the immense psychological trauma inflicted on millions of Uyghur people by the Chinese government. What’s striking in this particular story is the notes on how the Chinese genocide project mobilizes the targeted people –even their children– to punish each other by violent means. The resulting spiral of violence is a recurring pattern inside the camp system as well (and, one can argue, throughout Chinese society, although it is obscured there by a widespread ‘learned helplessness’).

Many other recent documents/reports also speak to the massive trauma in children and separated families, caused by the Chinese government, f.ex.:

UHRP Documents Continuing Assimilationist Policy Targeting Uyghur Children. January 27, 2022.

Uyghur Children Face Legacy of Trauma Caused by Mass Incarceration Campaign. (Parents and experts say the impact of detentions will last for generations to come). Radio Free Asia, 2021-03-22.


Magnus Fiskesjö, PhD

Source: NPR (2/3/22)
Uyghur Kids Recall Physical and Mental Torment at Chinese Boarding Schools in Xinjiang.”
All Things Considered, Emily Feng, NPR (February 3, 2022).

Lütfullah Kuçar, 8, waits at home for his sister, Aysu Kuçar, to return from school, in Istanbul. The two Uyghur children were forcibly separated from their family and spent nearly 20 months in state boarding schools in Xinjiang, China. Nicole Tung for NPR

ISTANBUL — In quiet, polite voices, Aysu and Lütfullah Kuçar describe the nearly 20 months they spent in state boarding schools in China’s western region of Xinjiang, forcibly separated from their family.

Under the watchful gaze of their father, the two ethnically Uyghur children say that their heads were shaved and that class monitors and teachers frequently hit them, locked them in dark rooms and forced them to hold stress positions as punishment for perceived transgressions. Continue reading

Olympic spectacle and global power games

Source: NYT (2/4/22)
In Beijing, Olympic Spectacle and Global Power Games
阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版
The opening of the Winter Games gave Xi Jinping and Vladimir V. Putin a chance to cement their partnership against Western censure.
By Chris Buckley and Steven Lee Myers

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday in Beijing.

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Friday in Beijing. Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar/The New York Times

BEIJING — China’s leader, Xi Jinping, opened an Olympic Games on Friday intended to celebrate his country’s increasingly assured global status standing defiantly with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir V. Putin, in an increasingly ideological contest with the United States and its allies.

While President Biden and other democratic leaders shunned the opening ceremony over China’s human rights abuses, Mr. Xi drew his own bloc of supportive guests. Mr. Putin, another strongman leader bristling against the United States’ demands, appeared with him in a calculated display of solidarity while Moscow’s tensions with Ukraine could tip into war.

The meeting with Mr. Putin, with the opening ceremony, amounted to a choreographed display of China’s shifting place in the world — wanting to win over countries wary of its rising power, but growing impatient, and disdainful, of Western censure.

It also underscored China and Russia’s determination to present a united front against the West, broadly, and the United States in particular — exactly the result that President Richard M. Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, were trying to avoid with their opening to China in 1971. Continue reading

Confessions of a Jade Lord (excerpt)

Source: (2/3/22)
Confessions of a Jade Lord (excerpt): ‘Marry your mother to the villain who killed your father’
By Bruce Humes

This short excerpt from Alat Asem’s Confessions of a Jade Lord  (时间悄悄的嘴脸, 阿拉提·阿斯木 著)  intriguingly captures several key aspects of Uyghur culture, modern and ancient.

To get his greedy hands on nine hefty chunks of priceless creamy-white, “mutton-fat” jade, Eysa and his gang administer a deadly beating to Xali, a fellow trader. Fearing arrest, Eysa flees Xinjiang for Shanghai where a plastic surgeon fits him with a state-of-the art mask that allows him to return home, initially undetected even by his kin.

Haunted by this misdeed and other behavior unbecoming to a good Muslim — Xali is crippled but not dead, as it turns out — Eysa slips across the border to seek the advice of a diviner, not unlike Altaic peoples who turned for centuries to their shamans for guidance.

Ironically, the necromancer is based in Uzbekistan, one of the ‘stans that held its attractions for Uyghurs even after the 1955 founding of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, originally heralded as offering a level of self-governance. During Soviet times, several waves of Turkophones migrated out of China, lured by the prospect of wealth and greater freedom.  In the novel, these emigrants are roundly denounced for betraying their Xinjiang homeland, but this scene suggests that some possess a traditional spirituality no longer available in the Han-dominated People’s Republic.

Oh, and please note: The English version of the novel features a bevy of terms transliterated from the Uyghur, such as pul (money) and aghine (buddy), below. Continue reading