How China's orchestrated tours of Xinjiang echo the 'Potemkin villages' of authoritarian regimes
  • Mon, 08/05/2019 - 19:40

By Erin Handley
Updated Sat at 12:57am

A young Uyghur woman smiles as she threads a needle to the backdrop of tinkling piano music.

"I have rid myself of extremist thought," another says, playing ping-pong.

Slick Chinese videos seek to counter the United Nations' finding that at least 1 million Uyghurs — a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority — are detained in internment camps in China's western region of Xinjiang.

But the centrepiece in China's propaganda apparatus is the orchestrated tour of Xinjiang — bringing journalists and diplomats inside their "vocational centres" to showcase young Uyghur men and women dressed in bright clothing as they sing and dance for the cameras.

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