Yi Xiaocuo is a doctoral researcher who has lived in China and is now based in North America. The phrase yi xiao cuo in Chinese originally means ‘a small bunch.’ It is a recurring term in the Chinese Communist Party’s historical discourse to denigrate critical voices. Writing on a wide range of topics such as the politics and history of China and borderlands, Yi Xiaocuo uses this pen name to reclaim the political stance of social justice that is often underrepresented and stigmatised by the state’s propaganda machine.

A Road to Forgetting: Friendship and Memory in China’s Belt and Road Initiative

A new Sino-Kazakh coproduction recounts the time that celebrated Chinese musician Xian Xinghai spent in Kazakhstan in the early 1940s, focussing on the friendship between the artist and a local composer named Bakhitzhan Baykadamov. While the movie intends to celebrate the renewed friendship between China and the former Soviet republic under the auspices of Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative, it also serves a darker purpose: to obfuscate the reality of the mass detention of ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz in ‘reeducation camps’ in Xinjiang.

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