Uyghurs Who Fled China Now Face Repression in Pakistan
Commissioned by Vice News
“This film is a jewel – at once inspiring and heart breaking. Ambitious in scope, it managed to cover the intimate, human toll of China’s persecution of the Uyghur minority while placing it in its complex geopolitical context. Solid journalism with a beating heart – the clearest telling of a complex story I have ever seen.”
-News Features Award Jury
The US has officially designated the Chinese government’s brutal crackdown of Uyghur Muslims as genocide. But suppression of Uyghur people doesn’t stop at China’s border – Beijing’s ongoing “One Belt One Road” project threatens Uyghurs in neighbouring countries. Producer-Director Brent E. Huffman traveled to Pakistan five times over a four-year period to gain the trust of a vulnerable community of Uyghurs in hiding there.
Mohammed Umer is an Uyghur activist who operates an underground railroad in Pakistan, smuggling persecuted Muslims into other countries. His work is becoming more difficult as China invests billions of dollars into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a series of infrastructure projects that connect the two countries. For all the promises of CPEC to transform Pakistan’s economy, some groups see these developments as a threat and have mounted a violent campaign of resistance.
Brent E. Huffman is an award-winning director, producer, writer, and cinematographer of documentaries and television programmes. His work ranges from documentaries aired on Netflix, VICE, The Discovery Channel and The National Geographic Channel to Sundance Film Festival premieres. He has also directed, produced, shot and edited documentaries for online outlets like The New York Times, TIME, VICE NEWS, Salon, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, and PBS Arts. Huffman has been making social issue documentaries and environmental films for over two decades in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. These films have gone on to win numerous awards including a Primetime Emmy and a Grand Jury Award at the American Film Institute’s SILVERDOCS.