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China Cables wins top SPJ prize

ICIJ's China Cables investigation was awarded top honors at the Society of Professional Journalists’ Dateline Awards in Washington, D.C.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ China Cables investigation has been awarded top honors at the Society of Professional Journalists’ Dateline Awards in Washington, D.C.

China Cables, published in November, is an investigation into the surveillance and mass internment without charge or trial of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China’s Xinjiang province, based on leaked classified Chinese government documents.

The investigation provides — in the government’s own words and authoritative detail — a description of China’s extrajudicial internment and compulsory indoctrination of Muslims as part of a sweeping program of mass surveillance and population control, and lays out details of what Western governments have called one of the greatest human-rights catastrophes of modern times.

The Washington, D.C., Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists awarded the China Cables investigation its highest honor, the Robert D. G. Lewis Watchdog Award, on Tuesday.

Judges said the investigation was “an impressive use of records, source trust-building and shoe-leather reporting on a delicate and dangerous situation, with global implications” and called it “one of the most impressive pieces of journalism in 2019.”

More than 75 journalists from ICIJ and 17 media partner organizations in 14 countries joined together to report on the China Cables documents. They spoke with more than 40 Uighurs in 10 countries, including Kazakhstan, Turkey, Germany, Sweden, Canada, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and the United States of America, and numerous experts.

The Dateline Awards also recognized two other ICIJ investigations: Mauritius Leaks was a finalist for the Business reporting award, and the Bribery Division investigation was a finalist for the best Series of the year.

The ICIJ China Cables Team

Director: Gerard Ryle
Project manager: Fergus Shiel
Project editor: Dean Starkman
Lead reporter: Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Reporters: Scilla Alecci, Sasha Chavkin
Data editor: Emilia Díaz-Struck
Online editor: Hamish Boland-Rudder
Community engagement editor: Amy Wilson-Chapman
Web developer: Antonio Cucho Gamboa
Associate editor and fact checker: Richard H.P. Sia
Copy editor: Joe Hillhouse
Editor: Tom Stites
Video reporter: Scilla Alecci
Chief technology officer: Pierre Romera
Technology team: Ashlee Guevara, Soline Ledésert, Bruno Thomas, Anne L’Hôte, Madeline O’Leary
Social media: Mandie Garcia
Training manager: Jelena Cosic
Illustrator: Ricardo Weibezahn
Director of Strategic Initiatives and Network: Marina Walker Guevara

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