State Dept Condemns Chinese Govt-Forced Abortions, Sterilizations for Uighurs

Elias Hubbard
July 1, 2020

The state is already facing widespread criticism for holding Uighurs in detention camps.

Politicians around the world have called for a United Nations probe into a Chinese government birth control campaign targeting largely Muslim minorities in the far western region of Xinjiang, even as Beijing said it treats all ethnicities equally under the law.

China previously denied the existence of the camps, before defending them as a necessary measure against terrorism, following separatist violence in the Xinjiang region.

Government documents studied by Mr Zenz also showed that women in some rural minority communities in the region received frequent mandatory gynaecological exams and bi-monthly pregnancy tests from local health officials. Omirzakh, a Chinese-born ethnic Kazakh, says she was forced to get an intrauterine contraceptive device, and that authorities in China threatened to detain her if she didn't pay a large fine for giving birth to Alif, her third child.

"Since a sweeping crackdown starting in late 2016 transformed Xinjiang into a draconian police state, witness accounts of intrusive state interference into reproductive autonomy have become ubiquitous", the report says.

The campaign of forced sterilizations and family separation has led to a sharp drop in the Uighur birthrate in Xinjiang province, especially in the westernmost regions of Hotan and Kashgar.

Zenz's research found that population growth in Xinjiang fell drastically with the implementation of forced birth control methods.

Women who had earlier been put in detention camps told Zenz that they were given injections and drugs to stop their periods or cause unusual bleeding.

The World Uyghur Congress, a non-governmental human rights organization, and the multi-partisan Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) issued statements on Monday asking the worldwide community to conduct an investigation into possible crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.

State Dept Condemns Chinese Govt-Forced Abortions, Sterilizations for Uighurs
State Dept Condemns Chinese Govt-Forced Abortions, Sterilizations for Uighurs

"The world can not remain silent in the face of unfolding atrocities", the group said in a statement. That's a startling figure when you realise that Uighurs represent less than two per cent of China's population of 1.4 billion people.

Leaked data obtained and corroborated by the AP showed that of 484 camp detainees listed in Karakax county in Xinjiang, 149 were there for having too many children - the most common reason for holding them. Two years later, in January 2018, four officials in military camouflage knocked at her door anyway and handed Omirzakh, the penniless wife of a detained vegetable trader, three days to pay a 17,5000 RMB (£2,000) fine for having more than two children.

If she didn't, they warned, she would join her husband and a million other ethnic minorities locked up in internment camps ¬- often for having too many children.

"God bequeaths children on you". To prevent people from having children is wrong. But John Bolton's book tells us that Trump has endorsed China's concentration camps when discussing them with Xi Jinping.

Responding to the report on Monday, China's foreign ministry said the allegations were "baseless" and showed "ulterior motives".

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian fired back on Tuesday by calling Pompeo "a brazen liar", saying the Uighur population had more than doubled since 1978 in response to criticism of Xinjiang's birth control policies. Some rural Muslims, such as Omirzakh, are punished even for having the three children allowed by the law.

The restrictions on Han Chinese have been relaxed over the past few years, and they are not subjected to the kind of forced abortions, sterilizations, and guilty-after-the-fact penalties as Xinjiang minorities are now suffering, creating an environment where the Uyghurs and other oppressed people are afraid to have children.

"These findings raise serious concerns as to whether Beijing's policies in Xinjiang represent, in fundamental respects, what might be characterised as a demographic campaign of genocide" under United Nations definitions, Mr Zenz said in the report.

In his report, Zenz said his findings represented the strongest evidence yet that Beijing's policies in Xinjiang met one of the genocide criteria cited in the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (pdf), namely "imposing measures meant to prevent births within the [targeted] group".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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