A news report I recently read

Inside Xin Jiang’s Prison State, by Ben Mauk

Read it here.

Thinking about bending genres and mixing forms…

This report is an amazing combination of visual graphics, reportage, and creative nonfiction. It tells the story of the history of Xin Jiang (a province in China), and the ongoing repression of the Uighur people (which has now been classified as genocide according to several world governments, but not yet the UK).

The shadow puppet type images at the beginning are sinister, and they illustrate how the truth is hidden in Xin Jiang; how the victims are hidden; how their treatment and fates are hidden. The animations are composite images, depicting the claims made by multiple former detainees.

The report is divided into named chapters, with a prologue and epilogue, and peppered with facts and statistics, maps and charts. It revolves around several characters, and their experiences, which are connected. The events are mainly told in chronological order. The report ends with the author’s inclusion in the story; his research, his observations and impressions.

The sentence are short and easy to digest. The language is plain and unemotive (except the final sentence, which uses the simile: ‘Then, with a voice as bright as a mountain stream, he sang it.’). There are quotes from those interviewed, and embedded links to other news reports, to back up the claims.

This is a powerful piece, not just for its content, but also for the way it’s presented. More like this, please New Yorker.

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