The disturbing state-sponsored film musical “Wings of Songs” defends government policies in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang against the ethnic minority Muslim population. The film tells the story of a Uyghur, a Kazakh and a Han Chinese man who come together to fulfil their musical dream. The movie showcases the life of Uyghur Muslims without mentioning human-rights abuses in Xinjiang once. But speaking to DW News South Asia expert Michael Kugelman from the Wilson Institute in Washington DC explained how the Chinese government often uses the arts to spread its own version of events.
The expert said: “China being an authoritarian state is always going to be keen to try to shift narratives through public relations.
“In that regard, it is not a surprise that it is trying to use film as a tool of public relations.”
Kugelman added how the disturbing film was the Chinese government’s attempt to “try to shape a certain narrative about the country.”
The Chinese state-sponsored musical repeatedly defends the government’s actions in the province and does not mention once the ‘re-education’ camps.
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His damming assessment of the film comes as other critics branded it a “cover-up” of Chinese abuses against Uyghurs.
Recently the Chinese government have launched a heavy media campaign including adverts that call for Han Chinese people to come to live in the province.
And even a rap song was shared by Chinese officials on state social media channels to deflect blame away from the government for the horrendous treatment.
The rap song’s lyrics label the USA as “the master of slaves” in a desperate rebuttal of claims against the communist state.
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The British government have condemned China and recently placed sanctions on a number of Chinese officials, freezing their assets and business interests.
But China responded and banned a number of British officials from China, including former Work and Pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith who voiced his concerns for the Uyghur people.
He said he wore the ban as “a badge of honour” and will continue to speak out against the terrible treatment of the Uyghur population by the Chinese government.
China continues to deny any wrongdoing in the region and insists the camps are for combatting the “terrorism threat” in the region.