China ‘carrying out demographic genocide’ against Muslim population

China ‘carrying out demographic genocide’ against Muslim population

The Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population, even as it encourages some of the country’s Han majority to have more children.

While individual women have spoken out before about forced birth control, the practice is far more widespread and systematic than previously known, according to an AP investigation based on government statistics, state documents and interviews with 30 ex-detainees, family members and a former detention camp instructor.

The campaign over the past four years in the far west region of Xinjiang is leading to what some experts are calling a form of “demographic genocide”.

The state regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices, sterilisation and even abortion on hundreds of thousands, the interviews and data show.

A guard tower and barbed wire fence surround a detention facility in the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux in western China’s Xinjiang region (Ng Han Guan/AP)
A guard tower and barbed wire fence surround a detention facility in the Kunshan Industrial Park in Artux in western China’s Xinjiang region (Ng Han Guan/AP)

Even while the use of IUDs and sterilisation has fallen nationwide, it is rising sharply in Xinjiang.

The population control measures are backed by mass detention both as a threat and as a punishment for failure to comply.

Having too many children is a major reason people are sent to detention camps, the AP found, with the parents of three or more ripped away from their families unless they can pay huge fines.

Police raid homes, terrifying parents as they search for hidden children.

They want to destroy us as a people

After Gulnar Omirzakh, a Chinese-born Kazakh, had her third child, the government ordered her to get an IUD inserted.

Two years later, in January 2018, four officials in military camouflage came knocking at her door anyway.

They gave Ms Omirzakh, the penniless wife of a detained vegetable trader, three days to pay a 2,685 US dollars fine for having more than two children.

A Uighur woman and children sit on a motor-tricycle after school (Andy Wong/AP)
A Uighur woman and children sit on a motor-tricycle after school (Andy Wong/AP)

If she did not, 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,” said Ms Omirzakh, who gets tearful even now thinking back to that day.

“They want to destroy us as a people.”

The result of the birth control campaign is a climate of terror around having children, as seen in interview after interview.

Birth rates in the mostly Uighur regions of Hotan and Kashgar plunged by more than 60% from 2015 to 2018, the latest year available in government statistics.

Across the Xinjiang region, birth rates continue to plummet, falling nearly 24% last year alone, compared to just 4.2% nationwide, statistics show.

More on this topic

UK Prime Minister urged not to break ties with China amid pressure over Huawei roleUK Prime Minister urged not to break ties with China amid pressure over Huawei role

Hong Kong: What is happening in the Asian economic hub?Hong Kong: What is happening in the Asian economic hub?

Calls for UN probe of China’s forced birth control on UighursCalls for UN probe of China’s forced birth control on Uighurs

China approves national security law for Hong Kong – reportsChina approves national security law for Hong Kong – reports


More in this Section

China criticises US joint carrier drills in South China SeaChina criticises US joint carrier drills in South China Sea

Global June temperatures match record as Arctic Siberia swelters and burnsGlobal June temperatures match record as Arctic Siberia swelters and burns

Anger over resumption of lockdown measures in MelbourneAnger over resumption of lockdown measures in Melbourne

TikTok to leave Hong Kong amid security law fearsTikTok to leave Hong Kong amid security law fears


Lifestyle

One iron-clad prediction for the future is that virtual reality will only get bigger and better. For now, however, virtual reality is content with taking baby steps forward, by allowing gamers to become iron-clad instead.GameTech review: Solid offering from Iron Man VR shows virtual reality getting bigger

Often dismissed as the unruly fashion child thanks to the denim cut-off, shorts are a major player this season. As seen on the runways of The Row to Saint Laurent, designers are re-discovering the charm of shorts. Versatility is their style power. From knee-length to the biker there is one to suit all, writes Paula BurnsHow to find the perfect pair of shorts this summer

The skincare tips to help with mask acne and irritationThe Skin Nerd: How to counteract the effects of 'Mask Face' on your skin

As the junior TV talent show returns for a new series, Georgia Humphreys chats to Will.i.am and the other mentorsWill.i.am and other mentors back for new series of The Voice Kids

More From The Irish Examiner