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Birth rates in Xinjiang, where China's Uighur camps are based, plunged by nearly a third in 2018 but China claims it's not forcing sterilizations

September 22, 2020
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<img class="caas-img has-preview" alt="Protesters march in support of China's Uighurs and in solidarity with Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil after the furore caused by his criticism of China's policies toward the Muslim minority in Istanbul, Turkey, December 20, 2019.

REUTERS/Umit Bektas

” src=”https://newsgrio.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/birth-rates-in-xinjiang-where-chinas-uighur-camps-are-based-plunged-by-nearly-a-third-in-2018-but-china-claims-its-not-forcing-sterilizations.jpg” data-src=”https://newsgrio.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/birth-rates-in-xinjiang-where-chinas-uighur-camps-are-based-plunged-by-nearly-a-third-in-2018-but-china-claims-its-not-forcing-sterilizations.jpg”>

Protesters march in support of China’s Uighurs and in solidarity with Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil after the furore caused by his criticism of China’s policies toward the Muslim minority in Istanbul, Turkey, December 20, 2019.

  • On September 1, officials in Xinjiang, China, sent CNN a six-page fax outlining answers to questions requested for an article published a month earlier.

  • In it, the officials acknowledged that birth rates in the region — home to detention camps that house at least 1 million Uighurs and other ethnic minorities — fell by nearly a third in 2018, but called claims of genocide “pure nonsense.”

  • Xinjiang is home to the Uighurs, a mostly-Muslim ethnic minority that has in recent years faced unprecedented oppression and surveillance by the Chinese state.

  • The fax was sent to CNN after it published a story that said Uighur women were forced to use birth control, or were being sterilized to control birth rates.

  • China claimed that CNN’s source, expert Adrian Zenz, was “deliberately fabricating lies,” and that he was a religious fanatic.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Bureaucrats in Xinjiang, China, have acknowledged that birth rates in the region — home to hundreds of detention camps that house at least 1 million detained Uighurs and other ethnic minorities — fell by nearly a third in 2018, but called reports of forced sterilization “pure nonsense.”

On September 1, Xinjiang officials sent CNN a six-page fax outlining facts requested for an article published a month earlier. 

Xinjiang is home to the Uighurs, a mostly-Muslim ethnic minority that has in recent years faced unprecedented oppression and surveillance by the Chinese state. 

People there have been forced to cut off contact with the outside world, and at least 1 million Uighurs and other ethnic minorities have been detained in what China calls “re-education centers” and given arbitrary charges.

One part of the crackdown involves controlling people’s reproductive rights. 

The fax was sent to CNN after it published a story that said Uighur women were forced to use birth control, or were being sterilized to control birth rates. 

The previous CNN story, based on a report by Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation senior fellow Adrian Zenz, said official documents showed sterilizations had risen from less than 50 sterilizations for every 100,000 people in 2016, to nearly 250 sterilizations per 100,000 people in 2018. 

Zenz said imposing these measures to prevents births was a form of genocide under the United Nations’ definition. 

This was far from the first report on China’s treatment of the Uighurs. 

In June, the Associated Press published a report based on interviews with 30 people, which found the authorities were cracking down on the birth rate by forcing women to take pregnancy tests, forcing women to have abortions, force-feeding women birth-control pills, or making women have IUDs to prevent pregnancies. 

In August, reports also emerged of hospitals in the region that were aborting late-stage pregnancies and killing newborns, Business Insider previously reported.

Despite the multiple reports, in the fax to CNN, the officials said Zenz’s report was not “in line with the real situation.” 

The response said he was “deliberately fabricating lies,” and that he was a religious fanatic. 

“The rights and interests of Uyghur and other ethnic minorities have been fully protected. The so-called ‘genocide’ is pure nonsense,” the fax said, using an alternative spelling for “Uighur.”

The government claimed that Xinjiang’s population had risen by 3 million people between 2010 and 2018. 

The officials didn’t dispute the high rate of IUDs, however.

In 2018, Xinjiang had nearly 1,000 new IUD implants per 100,000 people, equating to 80% of China’s total new IUD implants, per Zenz’s report.

According to CNN, the fax also claimed that of the 120,000 fewer newborns from 2017, around 80,000 were due to family planning policies working better, and that everyone who followed the protocols did so voluntarily. 

The other 40,000 fewer babies were linked to education and economic development, the government said in its fax to CNN, according to the outlet.

Zenz was skeptical that 17 times more women “spontaneously wanted to be sterilized,” and noted that Uighurs have previously resisted all forms of contraceptive, according to CNN.

Read the original article on Insider

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