A new report has alleged that the Chinese government is trying to reduce Uyghur births with forced abortions, birth control and sterilization.
Who are the Uyghurs: The Uyghurs are a Muslim ethnic minority mostly based in China’s Xinjiang province, making up around 45% of the population there.
- At least 1 million people, mostly from the Muslim Uyghur community, are believed to be held in internment camps, which the Chinese government calls “reeducation centers” or “vocational training and education centers.”
- Operated by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region government, the Xinjiang re-education camps were established to indoctrinate Uyghurs and other Muslims to abandon their heritage and religion.
- Detainees have never been charged with a crime and do not receive legal representation, according to a report by the World Uyghur Congress.
- Held indefinitely without charge, inmates are allegedly poorly fed and forced to shout Communist Party slogans.
- Critics have accused the Chinese government of propagating an ethnocide or a cultural genocide of Uyghurs with the camps.
- The report cited government statistics, state documents and interviews with 30 former prisoners, family members and other sources.
- Authorities at the camps reportedly subject women to pregnancy tests on a regular basis. Those who test positive were forced to have abortions.
- Some Uyghur women were also forced to wear intrauterine devices, or IUDs, to prevent pregnancy.
- Others were reportedly force-fed with birth-control pills or injected with fluids to make them sterile. These measures affect “hundreds of thousands” of Uyghur women.
- “Birth rates in the mostly Uyghur regions of Hotan and Kashgar plunged by more than 60% from 2015 to 2018, the latest year available in government statistics,” the AP report states. “Across the Xinjiang region, birth rates continue to plummet, falling nearly 24% last year alone — compared to just 4.2% nationwide, statistics show.”
Why this matters: China’s foreign minister has denied that the government is abusing the rights of Uyghurs, claiming it protects the legal rights of minorities.
- “Everyone, regardless of whether they’re an ethnic minority or Han Chinese, must follow and act in accordance with the law,” ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was quoted as saying on Monday.
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