On A Tightrope (2007)

I remember watching this on SBS when it aired in Australia. It was fascinating to see Uyghurs on TV. Originally distributed by Kudos Family, it is now available in full on YouTube thanks to SnagFilms.


Multi-award winning documentary film offering rare insight into the prosecution of China’s Muslim minority.

On a Tightrope is a heartwarming and beautiful documentary film with a grave backdrop. The documentary follows four children at a government orphanage in Xinjiang, China. The four are learning the ancient Uyghur tradition of Dawaz, tightrope walking.

The children’s struggle to master the tightrope becomes a metaphor for their lives, as they walk the line between being true to their cultural and religious heritage and the communist party’s harsh demands for obedience.

China’s Xinjiang province is the site of one of the world’s worst human rights violations; Muslim Uyghurs are systematically oppressed. Under the excuse of suspected separatism at least 10,000 have been imprisoned and hundreds have been executed. The situation in Xinjiang is comparable to the situation in Tibet. But without a strong leader the Chinese are more brutal when dealing with the peaceful Uyghurs, knowing the world pays little attention.

On a Tightrope is the best documentary ever to depict the situation in the closed region of Xinjiang. The film was in competition at Sundance Film Festival. It received rave reviews and caused great debate when released in cinemas.



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