French photographer Patrick Wack—who made several trips to Xinjiang in recent years—was the latest cause for controversy resulting in Kodak censoring his work from their platform, and issuing an official apology to China.
Wack’s work showed the normal lives of the Xinjiang citizens in addition to showing off Xinjiang’s elegant landscapes. Controversy arose when a post—released by Kodak along with his photos—stated:
“In recent years, the region has been at the centre of an international outcry following the mass-incarceration of its Uyghur population and other Muslim minorities. This body of work captures a visual narrative of the region and is a testimony to its abrupt descent into an Orwellian dystopia.”
Kodak is an American film company founded in 1888 in Rochester, New York.
More than one million Uyghur Muslims are reported to have been detained —against their will—and placed into “re-education camps” [forced labor] in the Xinjiang territory. China has become increasingly more aggressive to international accusations of human rights abuse and mass genocide, as stated by the US State Department, earlier in January. China contains the largest Atheist population on Earth. Both the Chinese government and the ruling Communist Party of China are officially Atheist, and deny participating in any religious persecution.
Below, shows the rapid construction in Xinjiang of re-education camps for the Uyghur Muslims, most likely built by the forced labor of the Uyghur Muslims themselves.
Following the removal of Kodak’s previous post—containing Patrick Wack’s photography—the film company posted: “Content from the photographer Patrick Wack was recently posted on this Instagram page. The content of the post was provided by the photographer and was not authored by Kodak. Kodak’s Instagram page is intended to enable creativity by providing a platform for promoting the medium of film. It is not intended to be a platform for political commentary.”
“The views expressed by Mr. Wack do not represent those of Kodak and are not endorsed by Kodak. We apologize for any misunderstanding or offense the post may have caused.”
“So for them, one of the main actors historically in photography, to say they don’t want to be political is what’s upsetting so many people,” said Mr. Wack, who had lived in China 11 years.
“A company working in photography should not have been afraid to take a stand on a project that’s so important for human rights,” said Ariane Kovalevsky, director of the cooperative that includes Mr. Wack.
Kodak issued another statement on its ‘Chinese WeChat account’ stating “For a long time, Kodak has maintained a good relationship with the Chinese government and has been in close cooperation with various government departments. We will continue to respect the Chinese government and the Chinese law.”
Kodak—a company who would rather sell film to China than stand up for crimes against humanity and genocide against religion—has received backlash for their cowardly response to the Communist Party of China’s oppression. Kodak—a company who’s film medium at the heart of major political coverage for more than a century—now has shown America, as well as the rest of the world its true colors.
Below, are photos taken from Photographer Patrick Wack’s new book entitled “Dust”
Preorder the controversial book: On sale now