Ancient shrines, oral folklore and hip-hop cyphers are all part of a rich artistic heritage being ‘hollowed out’ in Xinjiang say Uyghur exiles and scholars

On Thursday, the Uyghur Tribunal delivered its damning judgment on the human rights abuses allegedly committed by the Chinese state in Xinjiang. Over the past months this London-based people’s tribunal has heard testimony from international scholars as well as survivors of Chinese detention and “re-education camps”.

While the ruling has no legal standing, the aim is to highlight the treatment of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Turkic Muslims in north-west China. Rachel Harris, a British ethnomusicologist and Uyghur specialist, has described the state’s strategy as an attempt “to hollow out a whole culture and terrorise a whole people”.

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