British architect and geospatial analyst Alison Killing became the first of her profession to win a Pulitzer Prize for writing through the series of articles Built to Last. Published with the support of Eyebeam’s Center for the Future of Journalism (ECFJ) in BuzzFeed News, Built to Last is a five-part investigative series revealing a network of Chinese prison camps allegedly built to incarcerate Muslims.
Killing used her expertise in forensic analysis of architecture and satellite images of buildings to expose secret camps in the Xinjiang region to imprison Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities. With reporter Megha Rajagopalan and programmer Christo Buschek, the trio used sophisticated satellite technology to identify how the Chinese government was censoring images of detention camps and where the camps were located.
The Eyebeam-funded series has had an impact not only on public awareness of the possible human rights catastrophe but also on the broader field of investigative journalism. Former Eyebeam Editorial Director, Marisa Mazria Katz, spoke with ArtNet:
“You could sense the significance of this series almost immediately, but I knew it was going to have a major impact when I read a Washington Post op-ed from the editorial board that focused solely on its findings. I think another factor that speaks to the impact of the work made by Alison Killing, Megha Rajagopalan, and Christo Buschek was that WaPo used it to concretize the extent of the facilities in Xinjiang.”
Read the 5-part series below:
July 21, 2021
China Can Lock Up 1 Million Muslims in Xinjiang at Once
This reporting revealed that there is enough room to detain over 1 million Muslims in the Xinjiang detention camps in China.
Jan. 14, 2021
US Solar Companies Rely On Materials from Xinjiang, Where Forced Labor Is Rampant
Exposing the “virtuous” solar power industry in the US for using forced labor of #Uyghur Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
Dec. 28, 2020
The Factories in the Camps
Through detainee interviews and Chinese government documents, journalists uncover the forced labor of Muslims in Xinjiang.
Dec. 3, 2020
Inside a Xinjiang Detention Camp
Using satellite images, architectural analysis, and digital reconstruction to expose the cruel reality of the modern-day internment camps of Xinjiang.
Aug 27, 2020
Blanked-Out Spots on China’s Maps Helped Us Uncover Xinjiang’s Camps
Revealing the network of internment camps imprisoning Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
Alison Killing is a journalist and licensed architect who uses maps and data to investigate urgent social issues. She worked in architecture and urban planning practices in London and Rotterdam for several years, before starting her own studio, Killing Architects. Since then she has produced and curated an exhibition on death and architecture called Death in Venice, carried out research into the reconstruction in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake and developed Migration Trail, a mapped data visualization about migration to Europe. In 2021 she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, together with Megha Rajagopalan and Christo Buschek for a series of articles exposing the network of detention camps in Xinjiang, China.