China Forces Abortions and Sterilization on Uyghur Minority to Cut Population, AP Reports


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 story: The Associated Press published a report on Monday accusing Chinese authorities of cracking down on the birth rate of Uyghur Muslims using harsh measures. 

  • 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.

Feature Image via Getty

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