In China, a 'Slow, Painful, Creeping Genocide'

AP report: Country is systematically forcing birth control on Uighurs to cut down Muslim population
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 29, 2020 9:01 AM CDT
In China, a 'Slow, Painful, Creeping Genocide'
In this Sept. 20, 2018, file photo, a Uighur woman and children are seen in Hotan, in western China's Xinjiang region.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

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, per 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 one expert calls a "slow, painful, creeping genocide."

The state regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks and forces intrauterine devices, sterilization, and even abortion on hundreds of thousands, the interviews and data show. Even while the use of IUDs and sterilization has fallen nationwide, it's 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. Police raid homes, terrifying parents as they search for hidden children. Birth rates in the mostly Uighur regions of Hotan and Kashgar plunged by more than 60% from 2015 to 2018. Across the Xinjiang region, birth rates continue to plummet, falling nearly 24% last year alone—compared to just 4.2% nationwide, statistics show. "To prevent people from having children is wrong," says Gulnar Omirzakh, a Chinese-born Kazakh who was made to get an IUD inserted after having her third child. "They want to destroy us as a people." Much more here, including further Uighur interviews.

(More China stories.)

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