China has released a brand new musical set in Xinjiang aimed at playing down the alleged human rights crisis in the region.
The state-produced musical portrays the region as an ideal environment filled with ethnic cohesion and devoid of the allegations made by foreign governments.
The play, described by experts as a PR offensive to rebrand the region, attempts to show Xinjiang as a place where repression, mass surveillance, and ethnic discrimination do not exist. This is contrary to the accusations made by the U.S., other western nations, and human rights groups of ongoing genocide and persecution of the region's Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.
State-run media described the musical as being inspired by overseas blockbusters such as "La La Land."
The movie, titled "The Wings of Songs" - attempts to culturally reframe the region. It focuses on the dreams and ambitions of three men from different ethnic groups and their journey through the iconic mountains and deserts of the vast region.
Experts said that the musical is far from realistic as it lacks security checkpoints, surveillance cameras, and the presence of Islam in the region. More than half of the people living in Xinjiang are Muslim. The movie does not show a single mosque or any women wearing veils.
According to human rights groups, at least one million Uyghurs and other minorities are being held in camps in Xinjiang. More serious accusations of human rights violations include the forced sterilization of women, rampant slavery, and sexual abuse.
The accusations have recently drawn global attention, leading to some companies implementing immediate measures to protect their own brands. Nike recently said it would no longer be sourcing materials from the region after new allegations came to light that cotton and other goods were made by slavery and forced labor.
Nike and other foreign brands boycotting goods from Xinjiang have been criticized by the Chinese public. Last week, Swedish fashion company H&M took a big PR hit for attempting to voice its concerns over the allegations.