China’s Control Of Ethnic Minorities In Xinjiang Comes Under Scrutiny – The Chinese government could reduce the population of the ethnic Uighur minority in the southern province of Xinjiang by up to a third over the next 20 years through birth control policies, according to a new analysis by researchers in Germany.
This analysis highlights regional policies that could cut 2.6 to 4.5 million ethnic Uighurs in that time. China has been accused by some Western countries of genocide in Xinjiang, by suppressing the birth rate. China denies the accusations, saying the drop in birth rates is due to other factors.
This latest study, released by researcher Adrian Zenz, is the first scientific study to highlight the long-term impact of China’s actions on the Uighurs, and other minority groups in Xinjian.
The study found that under the Chinese government’s birth control policy, the population of minority groups in southern Xinjiang will be between 8.6 and 10.5 million people by 2040. Without the policy, the number once projected by research from China could be as high as 13, 1 million people.
China’s Control Of Ethnic Minorities In Xinjiang Comes Under Scrutiny
“This [research and analysis] really shows the Chinese government’s intentions regarding its long-term plans for the Uighur population,” Zenz told Reuters news agency, which was the first to report the results. In his report, Zenz wrote, since 2019 Xinjiang authorities “plan to target at least 80% of women of childbearing age in four rural areas in the south to undergo birth prevention surgery, which refers to IUDs or sterilization”.
Experts believe that China has detained at least a million Uighurs and other Muslim groups in Xinjiang, and that Beijing is currently facing accusations of trying to suppress and assimilate the minority Muslim population there.
Reports also said authorities had plans to move Han people – China’s ethnic majority – to the previously-dominated Xinjiang region, and forcibly remove Uighurs from their territory. According to Zenz’s research, birth control policies could increase the Han population in southern Xinjiang – home to a large Uighur population – from its current 8.4% to 25% by 2040.
In China’s official statistics, there has been a 48.7% decline in the birth rate of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang in the 2017 – 2019 period.
Last week, China announced it had allowed its citizens to have up to three children, after census data showed a decline in the nation’s birth rate. However, leaked documents and testimonies from Xinjiang show the opposite policy in the region. Women there are detained or even punished for having children beyond the birth control quota.
Zenz also previously made reports based on regional data, policy documents and testimonies alleging that pregnant women in Uighurs in Xinjiang were threatened with arrest for refusing to have an abortion, while others were put on contraceptives or forced to undergo sterilization operations.
China rejects accusations that it has made efforts to suppress the Uighur population in particular, arguing that the decline in the birthrate of the minority group in Xinjiang is due to the adoption of a common number of children in the region, as well as increased incomes and access to family planning.
“The mention of ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang is complete nonsense,” China’s foreign ministry told Reuters in a statement. “This is an embodiment of the ulterior motives of anti-China groups in the United States and the West, and a manifestation for those who suffer from Sinophobia [anti-China sentiment].”
Zenz is a researcher with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, an “anti-communist” organization based in Washington DC, USA. The organization said it was dedicated to “fighting for the freedom of those still living under totalitarian regimes”.
In a Reuters report, Zenz’s latest research and methodology has been responded to by experts in population analysis, birth control policy, and international human rights law experts. Everyone told the news agency that his analysis and research conclusions made sense.
Experts warn that demographic projections over decades could be affected by unforeseen factors.