14 seconds of undercover footage reveals the shadowy, sinister reality of China's 21st-century police state

Alexandra Ma

Eight young men, wearing dark clothing, are marching in complete silence down a busy city street.

They are striding almost in unison toward a police station, where they will likely face hours of intense questioning and risk being sent away to what's called a "re-education camp." People who get sent there are locked away, with no idea of when they might get out.

This is the scene in VICE News's new documentary on the western Chinese region of Xinjiang, the most oppressed in the country. This particular scene — which takes up 14 chilling seconds in the 30-minute documentary — was taken by two undercover reporters around 12:30 a.m. in Kashgar, a major city and tourist attraction in western Xinjiang.

We know the danger that the men in the video face not because we know their names, or can see their faces, but because they are Uighurs — the majority-Muslim ethnic minority currently under unprecedented scrutiny and surveillance by the Chinese government.