British architect Alison Killing won the award (along with Buzzfeed News reporter Megha Rajagopalan and programmer Christo Buschek) for a series of stories revealing a number of secret internment camps in China’s Xinjiang province built to hold up to 1 million Muslim detainees made up of Uyghurs and other minority groups.
Described by Pulitzer’s board of directors as “clear and compelling,” the stories drew on publicly available satellite imagery and architectural expertise, as well as interviews with former prisoners, to identify the extent of infrastructure built by the Chinese government.
The investigation identified 268 structures built between 2017 and 2020 bearing the characteristics of fortified detention complexes, constituting “a sprawling system to detain and incarcerate hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities, in what is already detention on a larger scale. ethnic and religious minorities since World War II.
Born in the British city of Newcastle, Killing received degrees from King’s College, Cambridge and Oxford. She founded her own practice in 2010 and is the first architect to win the Pulitzer in all categories since 1996.
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