Documentaries & Movies
I have come across some really random videos while looking for all the links on this blog, so here are some that don’t quite fit a criteria but are interesting nonetheless. I have included the organisations or schools that have funded each project to give an idea of the sort of information inside it (e.g. Chinese propaganda), so keep that in mind while watching. Enjoy.
University of the Arts London, London College of Communication
An Uyghur Odyssey (2009) A simple tale – we pick up three Uyghur musicians on their way to play a 24 hour long song.
The Uyghurs (2013) Stef Hoffer: [this video] gives an impression of the traditions and remaining culture I encountered while traveling through the region. There are images of Kashgar, Hotan and smaller villages in the area.
Xinjiang Art Institute with the Committee Propaganda Department of Chinese Communist Party, Yecheng County
The Edge of the Bazaar (2015) This short Uyghur language film (English and Chinese subtitles) by student filmmakers Dilmurat Tohti and Abdukadirjan Upur follows the lives of three craftsmen (a mat-maker, spoon-maker, and salt seller) who live at the margins of a small town in the south of Kashgar prefecture called Qaghaliq.
Rahime (2015) a short film by Mukaddas Mijit. “In this particular time of human history, where cultural heritages, morality and brotherhood have been humiliated; a grandmother from a remote place sends a message of peace, respect and generosity.”
University of Hawaii: National Resource Centre for East Asia, National Foreign Language Resource Centre. Funded by the US Department of Education, Confucius Institute, and the PRC Ministry of Education
Xinjiang, Kashgar – Uyghur Muslim China ئۇيغۇر an interview with a local on various Uyghur and Muslim customs
Send me suggestions for more if you know of any.
A film about organ harvesting in China. On one hand I would like to watch it, on the other hand I don’t know if I could stand the horror it will discuss. I was always good with gore and such in films, but that’s exactly why – the horror was just a film, fake. This is… real life. And I’m friends with Enver Tohti (one of the surgeons in the documentary) on Facebook. It really is hard to believe.
You can view the trailer and buy the documentary here.
“Hard To Believe” investigates the serious medical crimes of forced live organ harvesting from Chinese prisoners of conscience, and the response—or lack of it—around the world. From an author’s 7-year investigation to a doctor’s confession; the determination of the son of a Holocaust survivor, to the persistence of a culturally-challenged victim community, “Hard To Believe” explores the mystery of why so few people seem to be paying attention to a crime so horrific it goes beyond belief.
“Adrift is a short documentary about a traditional musician named Shohrat from Uyghur, an autonomous region of northwest China. Once famous in Japan in the 1990’s, he is now relatively unknown and lives in suburban western Sydney. Shohrat is torn between his Uyghur homeland, his ties to Japan where his talent was truly appreciated, and suburban Australia where his family now lives.”
Director & Director of Photography: Jon Mark Oldmeadow
Producers: Jon Mark Oldmeadow, Caitlin Farrugia
Editors: Miška Mandić, Jon Mark Oldmeadow
Here is the official website for more information about this film. It was recently screened at the St Kilda Film Festival where it won the Audience Choice Award. Hopefully it will be available to the public in the future!
An old documentary I found on YouTube which discusses China’s nuclear testing program in Lop Nor. You can watch it here.
I found a helpful description on this website:
Death on the Silk Road
Distributed by Filmakers Library, 124 East 40th Street, New York, NY 10016; 212-808-4980
Produced by Richard Hering and Stuart Tanner for Channel Four Dispatches
VHS, color, 27 min.
This film reveals the extraordinary risks involved in attempting to document possible health hazards of nuclear weapons testing in China. From 1964 to 1996, the Chinese conducted a series of at least 43 nuclear experiments of high-yield tactical nuclear weapons at the Lop Nor site in Xinjiang province. Though the area of the tests is sparsely populated, many cities on the ancient Silk Road trade route are downwind from Lop Nor and have been exposed to fallout from above ground tests and radiation releases from underground tests. The Great Silk Road currently is among areas highly promoted by China for foreign tourism.
A team of doctors and filmmakers pose as tourists in order to assess the potential effects of nuclear testing in China. Each takes considerable personal risk to attempt to document increased incidences of birth defects, leukemia and other cancers in Xinjian. Increased rates of these medical problems could be evidence that Chinese nuclear testing has placed the Xinjian population at risk. The team obtains its evidence by gaining illegal access to Chinese medical records, by interviewing local doctors, and by offering medical services to indigent residents. This is a documentary of a very real case of modern spying in which evidence collected by the team is smuggled out of the country by accomplices. One team member is detained for hours and strip-searched at the Beijing airport, before being released to board his out-of-country flight for lack of evidence.
Death on the Silk Road won the 1999 Rory Peck Award for Journalism. The review copy lacked a view of the most compelling evidence the team was able to collect (“shot missing”) and also contained a blank sequence of about 20 seconds duration before the final credits. Assuming the production copies of the video have corrected these small faults, the film is recommended for 9th grade through adult audiences. Scenes of victims with birth defects or diseases are graphic and could disturb less mature viewers.
I cannot forget to mention The 10 Conditions of Love in a series on Uyghur documentaries. It was shown in the Melbourne Film Festival despite China’s warnings – in fact, I believe China’s attempts at stopping its screening gave the documentary a lot more attention than it may have otherwise received. Since then, the film has been shown in many locations, including the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, where I first watched it. I enjoyed it for the most part, although it was the first instance where I consciously realised how much is lost when translating Uyghur speech to English subtitles. Here is a trailer and you can go to this website to buy the DVD. A Q&A was also held in the Lincoln Center in 2012
THE 10 CONDITIONS OF LOVE is a love story – of a woman, a man, a family, a people and a homeland. It is the story of Rebiya Kadeer, China’s nightmare – the woman it accuses of inciting terrorism within China’s borders.
It is also the story of the ‘other Tibet’, the country its Muslim people call East Turkestan, but which the Chinese call Xinjiang Province – the other stain on China’s moral character.
It is a big story: a story of the ruthless oppression of 20-million people; of the global politics of energy; of Super Power politicking over the War on Terror; and of the pain of a deeply loving family torn violently apart.
Exiled in the US, Rebiya Kadeer is fighting for the human rights of her people, the Uyghur, China’s oppressed Muslim minority. But Rebiya Kadeer’s campaign condemns her sons to on-going solitary confinement in a Chinese prison. Having done six years in prison including solitary herself, she understands the appalling consequences for them of her actions – but she will not relent.
Twice nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, once – reputedly – the richest woman in China, Rebiya Kadeer is a remarkable woman who pays daily a terrible price for patriotism.
And it will never be over.
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.
Over the years, there have been some effort in collecting the oral history of the Uyghur diaspora. Here are a few that I have found. I will be adding more as I find them.
Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP)
Uyghur Oral History Playlist
Uyghur Diaspora Project (SL James):
Uyghur Leaders in Exile (2008-09)
Isa Yusuf Alptekin
Lost Nation (2006-7) Forced Migration Online, Oxford University – Stories from the Uyghur Diaspora: Riza Bekin, Anwar Rahman, Enver Tohti, Gulamettin Emet, Enver Can, Rebiya Kadeer
Silk Road to Guantanamo: The Story of Adel Hakimjan Forced Migration Online, Oxford University
Across the Border (2009) – Uyghurs in Kazakhstan, Forced Migration Online, Oxford University
Husen Hesen Australia
Tursunjan Emet Poet, Netherlands
Abdurehimjan Ependim pt 1 pt 2
Exmet Igemberdi on governments in exile
Exmetjan Osman & Exmet Igemberdi conversation
Merhum Seley Hajim Atush
Hayat Shahitliremiz (Introduction to the series)
Hamit Kenji army general
Abdughupur Qutluq teacher, Yengi Hayat Newspaper
Abdilkerim Isa artist
Ilaxun Kokkuz Oghli Yarullam
Ehmet Igemberdi former president, ETAA
Haji Memut Kenji
Ahmetjan Osman poet
Sherqi Turkistan Teshwiqat Merkizi
Mahmut Muhit lecture by Dr Eset Sulayman