Break their Lineage, Break their Roots

True stories of crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China (November 2022)
Break their Lineage, Break their Roots
True stories of crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China
November 2022

Late evening, they put us in the police car and they drove us to the border of my city. We went into a yard. A big iron gate, very high. I heard the driver ask the guard ‘is this the transformation school?’

In collaboration with Sohaya Visions we did a two-week R&D for a new script telling the stories of Uyghur, Kazakh and other Turkic Muslims who have been accused of ‘three evils’ – namely,  ‘separatism, extremism and terrorism’ – by the Chinese state.

Since 2014, extreme measures have been put in place in Xinjiang in northwest China, a region that is also known as East Turkestan. Ranging from surveillance and torture to sexual violence and forced sterilisation, these took on more intensity in 2016 with the deployment of Party Secretary Chen Quanguo in the region from Tibet. Reportedly, over a million people have been detained for something as simple as having a foreign app on their mobile phones. Many have disappeared.

The first of its kind, this script adds new insights to their lives before and after periods of incarceration and torture in detention that the state describes as rehabilitation centres. Comprised of first-hand testimony and interviews with Tursunay Ziyawudun, Abduweli Ayup, Qelbinur Sidik, Abduréhim Paraç and ‘Ayshe’.

We staged the result of our two weeks of exploration on Friday 4 November @ 19:30

CAST: Nadia Nadif, Avin Shah and Zolfa Zahedi.

Writer: Raminder Kaur. Director/Dramaturg: Christine Bacon. Designer: Nicola Hewitt-George. Interpreters: Rahima Mahmut and Ekber Tursun.

Feedback from audiences:
“This is the first time that we have seen verbatim theatre in action. We did not expect to be hit so hard. We knew the stories of these people, but confronting their experiences in the theatre space was completely different.” – Rachel Harris & Aziz Isa Elkun
‘The storytelling was so transportive. Really powerfully told.’- Audience member

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