Citations for the Live Experience

Everybody is Gone is based on reporting from independent, international media, as well as propaganda material produced by the Chinese regime itself. This page contains information about some of the specific references that shape the experience. Clicking on any of the references below will bring you to the relevant citation in the database, which contains additional information and links to the original source.


The New York Times
How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue minorities

There are smaller checkpoints at banks, parks, schools, gas stations and mosques, all recording information from identity cards in the mass surveillance database.

Identification cards are also needed to buy knives, gasoline, phones, computers and even sugar. The purchases are entered into a police database used to flag suspicious behavior or individuals, according to a 2017 dissertation by a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences that features screenshots of the system in Kashgar.

Not everyone has to endure the inconvenience. At many checkpoints, privileged groups — Han Chinese, Uighur officials with passes, and foreign visitors — are waved through “green channels.” In this way, the authorities have created separate yet overlapping worlds on the same streets — and in the online police databases — one for Muslim minorities, the other for Han Chinese.

The Wall Street Journal
Twelve Days in Xinjiang: How China’s Surveillance State Overwhelms Daily Life
Security checkpoints with identification scanners guard the train station and roads in and out of town. Facial scanners track comings and goings at hotels, shopping malls and banks. Police use hand-held devices to search smartphones for encrypted chat apps, politically charged videos and other suspect content. To fill up with gas, drivers must first swipe their ID cards and stare into a camera.

Living Otherwise
Navigating Checkpoints in the Uyghur Homeland
On a visit in April 2018 to the Uyghur homeland in Northwest China I was amazed by the number of checkpoints that turn every city and town into a maze of ethno-racial profiling and ID scans. In some areas, the checkpoints are every several hundred meters. The checkpoints are only for those who pass as Uyghur. Han folks and obvious foreigners are usually directed to walk through the exits of the checkpoints with the wave of a hand. The checkpoints are not for them.

At some checkpoints, officers also ask Uyghur young people to give them the passwords to open their smart phones. At these checkpoints, the officers look at the spyware app Clean Net Guard (Jingwang Weishi) that all Uyghurs are now required to install on their phones. The officers match the registration of the phone to the ID of the person and they also see if any alerts have been issued by the app. The app scanned the content on the phone and content sent from the phone for any material deemed “extremist” or “separatist.” These types of checkpoints are particularly harrowing for young Uyghurs, because the evidence from these scans is used to send Uyghurs to indefinite detention in reeducation camps.



乌鲁木齐市“访惠聚”驻村(社区)工作领导小组办公室 / The Small Leading Group Office of “Visit the People, Benefit the People, Bring Together the Hearts of the People” Work Teams Station in Urumqi City (official local government account)
The New Urban Area Local Taxation Bureau’s Lanting Community Working Team, from the Yingbin Road Area Management Committee, organized the flag raising ceremony, and everyone present sang “Without the Communist Party, There Would Be No New China.”

长城资产驻村工作队 / Great Wall Assets Village Work Group (government-affiliated account)
In the afternoon [after the morning flag raising ceremony], party members and cadres of the village held “de-extremification” work. After which, the working group assisted the village’s Party committee and government to conduct an examination and evaluation of the knowledge of the nine members of the two village committees. From this day forward, the village will organize two small teams of villagers and hold evening patriotic song events (in Chinese) and prepare for a competition. For upcoming flag raising ceremonies, all villagers will sing the majestic melody of the national anthem. In the evening, the working group and the village cadres held a meeting to make detailed arrangements for the coming days.

Patriotic Displays

乌鲁木齐市“访惠聚”驻村(社区)工作领导小组办公室 / The Small Leading Group Office of “Visit the People, Benefit the People, Bring Together the Hearts of the People” Work Teams Station in Urumqi City (official local government account)
The Hongmiaozi Area Management Committee Fudi Community work team, from the Shayibake District’s Audit Bureau, organized a flag-raising ceremony and afterwards organized residents to take part in activities welcoming the Spring Festival. Everyone held a “blessing” sign and arranged them so they spelled the word “China.”


疏勒零距离 / Shule Zero Distance (official local government account)
Cadre “relatives” from the Institute of Agricultural Science and their village “relatives” counterparts held brightly-colored national flags, formed themselves into the shape of “70,” and stared at the rising five-star red flag. Jin Ping, secretary of the village Party branch and leader of the “Visit the People, Benefit the People, Bring Together the Hearts of the People” work team, delivered a speech under the national flag and solemnly promised to lead the villagers to resolutely win the battle against poverty. Villager Atiguli Abodukeremu and cadre “relative” Qi Tong made a dedication and wished the great motherland more prosperity. Finally, the flag-raising ceremony ended with everyone singing “Ode to the Motherland.”

阿勒泰零距离 / Altay Zero Distance (official local government account)

Language Lessons

阿勒泰零距离 / Altay Zero Distance (official local government account)
The work team also made full use of the summer vacation time to organize returning college students to carry out the “six ones” activities, that is, to take part in an exchange symposium, to “raise their voices and flash their swords” under the national flag, to take part in a home visit, to volunteer, to participate in a propaganda competition, and to teach a Mandarin language class. The team guided returning college students to use their newly-acquired knowledge to actively participate in the construction of their hometowns and make a modest contribution.

Human Rights Watch
China: Visiting Officials Occupy Homes in Muslim Region
Cadres are tasked with imposing a sense of ethnic unity between the families and the Han majority. They teach the families Mandarin, the Han majority language; make them sing the Chinese national anthem and other songs praising the Chinese Communist Party; and ensure families participate in the weekly national flag-raising ceremony.

Propaganda Videos

Associated Press
Chinese authorities order video denials by Uyghurs of abuses
Chinese state media have published dozens of the videos praising the Communist Party and showing Uyghurs angrily denouncing former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for declaring a genocide in the far west Xinjiang region.

But the text obtained by AP is the first concrete confirmation that the videos are anything but grassroots. Sent in January to government offices in the northern city of Karamay, the text told each office to find one Uyghur fluent in Mandarin to film a one-minute video in response to Pompeo’s “anti-China remarks.”

“Express a clear position on Pompeo’s remarks, for example: I firmly oppose Pompeo’s anti-Chinese remarks, and I am very angry about them,” the text said. “Express your feelings of loving the party, the country and Xinjiang (I am Chinese, I love my motherland, I am happy at work and in life, and so on).”

The Spectator
The grim reality of being a ‘model Uighur’
On International Women’s Day in 2018, the CCP’s propaganda department in the city of Ghulja held a ceremony in my cousin Mayila’s house. Journalists, street cadres and neighbours streamed into her living room to sing, dance and play games in front of a state media camera crew. My mother, surrounded by officials, convincingly smiled at the cameras as she sang of her love for the party and Xi Jinping.

Human Rights Watch
“Eradicating Ideological Viruses”: China’s Campaign of Repression Against Xinjiang’s Muslims
Alim told Human Rights Watch that the neighborhood office made him deliver a pro-government speech at one such meeting: “People had to read out their speeches, they call it ‘Speak up and Show your Sword’ (发声亮剑), I had to too. It was different people every time. [I wrote] some bullshit: China’s been developing rapidly, that no other country has managed to do that in modern history, we have to thank the Party for our prosperity, we have to fight ‘the three evil forces.’”

美篇 / Meipian
新疆维吾尔自治区广告协会 / Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Advertising Association



Civilian Security Drills

South China Morning Post
China ‘holding itself back’ by shying away from global terrorism fight
Shopkeepers line up with wooden clubs to perform their daily anti-terror drill outside the bazaar in Kashgar in Xinjiang.


The Diplomat
A Holiday in Xinjiang
There was a surreal feel about our days in Xinjiang. An innocent wander down a mud-walled alleyway, soaking up antiquity, could be hijacked in an instant by yelling, baton-thrusting young police cadets coming out of nowhere. They would sprint past the tourists, position themselves in formation nearby, advance toward an invisible foe, spears at the ready, and finally stab the air for all they are worth.

Inside Xinjiang: A 10-Day Tour of China’s Most Repressed State
Twice a day, employees at an upscale jewelry boutique in China’s remote western region of Xinjiang stop what they’re doing and don bulletproof vests and combat helmets. Thrusting long clubs, they practice defending the store against attackers. Their imaginary assailants aren’t jewel thieves—they’re Muslim terrorists.
The state-mandated drills are part of China’s suppression campaign against Uighurs…



Wall Street Journal
Twelve Days in Xinjiang: How China’s Surveillance State Overwhelms Daily Life


Flag-Raising Ceremonies / Village Meetings

Human Rights Watch
“Eradicating Ideological Viruses”: China’s Campaign of Repression Against Xinjiang’s Muslims
Under the Strike Hard Campaign, Turkic Muslims are required to attend a variety of political indoctrination gatherings. Many interviewees said everyone in their community has to attend flag-raising ceremonies with the People’s Republic of China’s national flag on a weekly or daily basis:

“[W]e had to attend the flag-raising ceremony every Monday. They made us take off our head scarves for the ceremony and if you didn’t, you’d be taken to the political education camps. If you skipped it, or if you disobeyed them you’d be sent to political education. We were required to attend the flag-raising ceremony starting April 2017.”

“On Monday flag ceremony, you have to show your ID, or if you miss several times in a row, someone would tell on you and then you’d be punished.”

Interviewees also said that following ceremonies are often political meetings during which participants might be required to denounce their families or praise the Communist Party. Said Ilham: “There were flag-raising ceremonies, not only every week, but every day. After that, there would be a meeting, and the neighborhood office would gather everyone. They’d talk about all the good things the government has done for the people … and people have to tell the crowd what their families did, just like during the Cultural Revolution. If your attitude isn’t good, you’d be sent to the political education camp.”

Iham also described to Human Rights Watch examples of these denunciations: “[There was a] wife denouncing her husband, an imam who was imprisoned for extremism, … saying something about him propagating Wahhabism; and then a kid who denounces his father for having prayed and read the Quran. [There were also] people who have exceeded the birth quotas, the couple and their kids were crying as the authorities announced the huge fines against them. This is called a ‘Looking Back’ (回头看) exercise, looking back at what bad things people had done in the past 20 years.”

Alim told Human Rights Watch that the neighborhood office made him deliver a pro-government speech at one such meeting: “People had to read out their speeches, they call it ‘Speak up and Show your Sword’ (发声亮剑), I had to too. It was different people every time. [I wrote] some bullshit: China’s been developing rapidly, that no other country has managed to do that in modern history, we have to thank the Party for our prosperity, we have to fight ‘the three evil forces.’”


The New Yorker
Inside Xinjiang’s Prison State
On January 1, 2018 . . . more than a thousand people gathered at a flag-raising ceremony in a square outside the mayor’s office in Akkoi Farm to hear Aynur, the retired teacher, deliver a public confession. An employee at her former school made Aynur write out her statement in Chinese.

In 2016, flag-raising ceremonies in Xinjiang became mandatory; every family had to send a representative. Absence was considered a black mark on a household, and was used as a pretext for interrogation. Like the “struggle sessions” of the Cultural Revolution—public humiliations of landowners and other class enemies—confessions at flag-raising ceremonies in Xinjiang made an example of those whose thinking had been polluted.

Before she spoke, Aynur stood by herself under a large flagpole while the Chinese flag was raised. Then she explained that, because she was unable to control her husband, he had become involved with terrorists, and that this was why he was living in the camp a few miles down the road, with around five thousand other detainees. When Aynur finished, others rose to give speeches praising the Party. Although she had given brief confessions at previous ceremonies, she’d never been forced to call her husband a terrorist. Afterward, relatives in her village started avoiding her. Former colleagues from her old school stopped saying hello when they saw her on the street. “I felt like a criminal in front of all those people,” she said. “It was not a good feeling.”

Xinjiang Branch Chinese Academy of Sciences
Ayimake Village Carried out Various Activities to Preach about the Party’s Policies that Benefit the People
On behalf of the work team stationed in the village, deputy captain Comrade Nu’erbolati Ayida’erhan delivered a speech to the villagers who participated in the ceremony. … He then mentioned that the villager service center had been officially put into use, and three weddings and one funeral had been held. He hoped that from that day forward, all important family occasions, such as weddings, funerals, and baby naming ceremonies would be held in the villager service center according to organizational requirements, and that the rules and regulations for service center use would be strictly followed so as to maintain good order and a hygenic environment.



Decision of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region People’s Congress Standing Committee on Amending the “Regulations on Population and Family Planning in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region”
On July 28, 2017, at the 30th meeting of the 12th Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region People’s Congress Standing Committee, the 30th meeting of the 12th Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region People’s Congress Standing Committee decided to amend the Family Planning Regulations as follows:
1. Article 3 was amended to read: “Implementing family planning is a fundamental national policy, and it is the common responsibility of every citizen as well as the whole society. Family planning work persists in taking propaganda and education, contraception, and the recurring nature of the work as the most important components of the policy, with the goal of constructing a system that supports household development to benefit family planning, taking comprehensive measures, relying on scientific and technological progress, comprehensive services, and the establishment and strengthening of a system of family planning rewards, assistance, and social security, implementing the dynamic adjustment of assistance standards, bringing down and stabilizing moderate birth rate, improving the quality of the population, and promoting the long-term, balanced development of the population.”

X. One article was added as Article 24: “Medical institutions shall fill in the “Medical Birth Certificate” in accordance with the autonomous region’s rules for transcribing the names of ethnic minorities. Names containing words that convey or are suggestive of religious extremism are strictly prohibited, and the public security department shall have final determination over the “Medical Birth Certificate.”

皮山县零距离 / Pishan County Zero Distance (official local government account)
Afterwards, the village party branch secretary–while facing the flag–swore a solemn oath: “Ardently love the great motherland, ardently love the Chinese Nation’s Great Family, ardently love educating my village, support the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, respect the constitution and laws, protect the integrity of the motherland and ethnic unity, resolutely oppose violent terror activities, ethnic separatist activities, and illegal religious activities, and resist the influence of extremist religious thoughts. Be an honest, trustworthy, hardworking, civil, friendly villager and work hard to build a harmonious and prosperous hometown!” The oath resounded throughout Langan village.






火焰山网 (local Chinese Communist Party website)
On National Day, Every Village in Turpan Raises the Flag
At 9:00 in the morning, accompanied by the majestic “March of the Volunteers,” the flag guards walked in neat steps, escorting the national flag to the flag-raising platform, and slowly raising the bright five-star red flag. Everyone gazed fixedly at the flag and sang the national anthem in unison. Dressed neatly and donning the Party emblem, Zhuangzi Village cadre Nurguli Siyiqi said happily: “It is very meaningful to participate in the national flag raising ceremony on the days of national celebration. Seeing the national flag raised, a fire burns in my heart, giving me the strength to work. I am proud of the prosperity, harmony, and beauty of the motherland. Now our life is getting better and better, we must cherish the current situation of stability and unity, work hard, and win glory for the motherland.



中国农民网 (central government website)
The work team stationed in the village had discovered that even in the summer heat, some villagers still wore heavy, long-sleeved shirts. So the team proactively contacted a garment factory to come and take measurements, giving each villager new clothes and allowing them to feel cool and be fashionable in the summer, as well as to show off Qaghiliq Village’s new look.

Taking advantage of this opportunity, the village also organized a publicity campaign. Poverty alleviation specialist Shen Hongkun told everyone: “We can’t wear new clothes and walk the old roads. We must use our own two hands to change our lives and become rich through hard work. We also need to work harder on renovating our courtyards and improving sanitation. Together, we can enhance the overall image of Qaghiliq Village working from the inside out.”



美篇 / Meipian
只要有你 (likely government-affiliated account)
In order to strengthen Buwei villagers’ ideological education in the new era, update the knowledge structure of Buwei, improve Buwei villagers’ ability to guide religious women to maintain social stability, strengthen national unity, and maintain the unity of the motherland, and to further consolidate and maintain the mass foundation of “Everyone has responsibility, everyone is responsible, and everyone carries out their responsibilities,” on the morning of April 13, 2017, the opening ceremony of the five-day “Women’s Concentrated Training Course for Kashgar City Buwei” was held. The opening ceremony was presided over by Comrade Wan Hongmei, Secretary of the Party Branch of the Municipal Women’s Federation. Comrade Aziguli Rouzi, member of the Municipal Party Committee Standing Committee, attended the opening ceremony and delivered an important speech.

During the opening ceremony, everyone stood up, Buwei villagers removed their doppa and headscarves, and sang the national anthem.




伽师零距离/ Jiashi Zero Distance (official local government account)
On July 10, Jiashi County carried out the “three-in-one” activities of raising the national flag on Monday, giving lectures, and distributing funds to benefit the people. It also held activities to “advocate new fashions, establish a new atmosphere, and establish a new order.” A total of 194,000 people from 279 villages and communities in the county participated in the event, and a total of 132 million yuan was distributed to benefit 53,700 people, including rural subsistence allowances, subsidies for the disabled, funds for housing and housing, and cotton subsidies.

The work team of the Propaganda Department of the Jiashi County Party Committee in Bagetuogelake Village, Yingmaili Township organized the activities of raising the national flag, giving lectures, and distributing funds to benefit the people on Monday. All the cadres of the Propaganda Department of the County Party Committee participated together. On the same day, the village distributed a total of 170,440 yuan to benefit the people.

Keketal Village, Guleruk Township, carried out the “three-in-one” activity, distributing a total of 373,566 yuan to 178 villagers in cotton subsidies. Officials preached on the theme “be a qualified parent in the new era, be a citizen who loves the motherland and repays society.” College students who have returned to the village told the villagers what they have seen and heard for themselves outside the village, publicizing the Party’s policy of benefiting the people. Together with the villagers, they thanked the Party and the government for creating a better life for the villagers.





疏勒零距离 / Shule Zero Distance (official local government account)
Jin Ping said: “Today, we held a flag-raising ceremony to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China along with our cadre “relatives.” The purpose is to further enhance villagers’ sense of patriotism, gratitude, and ethnic unity, so that the villagers can firmly establish the idea that happiness only comes through struggle.”



Radio Free Asia
Authorities Force Uyghur Students to Return to Xinjiang From Mainland For Propaganda Drive
“All Xinjiang students are required to participate (including all ethnic groups), and they will preach to the public, and the publicity activities will cover every student,” the notice reads, adding that all universities must ensure that their pupils from the region take part in the initiative.

The students’ speeches are expected to “promote national unity, national mutual trust and anti-extremism as the keynotes, while vigorously promoting the benefits of the party’s various policies” to the masses, it says.

The key goals of the campaign are to “denounce the reactionary nature of the ‘three evils,’ expose their ugly face, and demonstrate the students’ firm political stance,” according to the announcement, which notes that completion of the “summer speech program” must be “verified by grassroots government departments and will become part of the students’ record.”

阿克陶零距离 / Akto Zero Distance (official local government account)
Peng Guobing, the first secretary of Baishan Road Community, raised his voice and flashed his sword, pointing out the behavior and dangerousness of ‘two-faced people’ among the ranks of the cadres . . . resolutely maintain in my ideology and action a high degree of consistency with the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, safeguard the ethnic unity, love the people of all ethnic groups, be especially sincere, loyal, clean, and responsible, and uncompromisingly serve as a model of one who digs the graves of the ‘two-faced people’ among cadre ranks.



美篇 / Meipian
新疆维吾尔自治区广告协会 / Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Advertising Association



伽师零距离 / Jiashi Zero Distance (official local government account)



乌鲁木齐市“访惠聚”驻村(社区)工作领导小组办公室 / The Small Leading Group Office of “Visit the People, Benefit the People, Bring Together the Hearts of the People” Work Teams Station in Urumqi City (official local government account)















新疆民生网 / Xinjiang Minsheng Wang (government website)



长城资产驻村工作队 / Great Wall Assets Village Work Group (government-affiliated account)




Washington Post
She survived a Chinese internment camp and made it to Virginia. Will the U.S. let her stay?

A Chinese flag-ceremony attendance record for Muhammad and Dawut.

A Chinese flag-ceremony attendance record for Muhammad and Dawut.webp

中国农民网 (central government website)



In-home Surveillance by ‘Relatives’

乌鲁木齐市“访惠聚”驻村(社区)工作领导小组办公室 / The Small Leading Group Office of “Visit the People, Benefit the People, Bring Together the Hearts of the People” Work Teams Station in Urumqi City (official local government account)
The departing members of the work team stationed in Tianshan District Dawan District Management Committee’s Hua’ergou Community, from the Municipal Internal Revenue Bureau, bid farewell to their assigned “relatives” at the flag raising ceremony. The new team members paired off with and met their “relatives,” getting closer and closer with them, the feelings between them growing deeper as they interacted.


Xinjiang Documentation Project
The “Jieqin” Campaign: Ethnic Integration, Surveillance, and Grassroots Governance

In Ürümqi, a Han official is living with his Uyghur ‘relatives’ and encouraged them to attend flag-raising ceremonies

A XUAR Women’s Federation official is teaching non-Han women how to cook Han Chinese foods that are said to be ‘healthier’ at one of the Jieqin activities

Cadres disseminate the Party’s policies to a Uyghur family

Exclusive: Kazinform reportage from China’s Xinjiang

During a Jieqin visit, a Han official is teaching Kazakh children Mandarin

莎车零距离 / Shache Zero Distance (official local government account)







The Chinese policy that makes Uyghurs feel like hostages in their own homes

Her four “guests” are Chinese government cadres who lived in her home for 10 days every month for two years before her family fled, she said.

Rosy images of the home stay program heavily promoted in Chinese state media depict the policy as a blend of community service and education.

Videos and social media posts on official accounts show host families and cadres warmly greeting each other as “relatives,” cooking meals together, and even sharing beds at night.

Under the home stay policy, cadres are sent to live, work and sleep with families in Xinjiang for several days at a time, every one or two months, former residents said.

It promoted the program with two numerical slogans: the “four togethers” – which are “eat together, live together, study together, work together,” and the “three sends,” under which cadres “send laws, send policies, send warmth.”

Months later, in a separate TV report, an official named He Jingjing is filmed showing a little boy how to wash his hands.

“I taught the kids to wash their face and brush their teeth,” she explains. “I brought the concept of modern life here, so they can live a better and more civilized life.”


During their visits, cadres share meals with the family and get to know the children in the household. Zumrat Dawut blurred the faces of these children before providing this image to CNN

A photo posted online in 2017 shows two women in bed with a female host.jpeg

Awards for Good Behavior / Performances

新疆法院网 / Xinjiang Higher People’s Court Website
“Ten families in Qaraqash, Hotan were awarded mops & buckets for standing out in the 3 beauties, 4 goods, and 1 clean inspection 三美四好一卫生”(beautiful people, houses, spaces; good thoughts, unity, family traditions, studies; clean bathrooms) (美丽庭院)”



疏勒零距离 / Shule Zero Distance (official government account)
During the event, the cadres and the masses jointly performed a variety of cultural and artistic programs, including choral singing, solo dance, group dance, and making meat skewers, thus expressing deep national unity. At the end of the event, souvenirs were distributed to the outstanding performers.