China forcibly ster­ilises Uighurs: re­port

Gulf Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties are car­ry­ing out forced ster­il­i­sa­tions of Uighur and other eth­nic mi­nor­ity women in an ap­par­ent cam­paign to curb the pop­u­la­tion, a study said yes­ter­day, trig­ger­ing swift in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion. China called the al­le­ga­tions base­less but the United States de­manded an im­me­di­ate end to the cam­paign de­scribed in the re­port, which was based on a com­bi­na­tion of of­fi­cial re­gional data, pol­icy doc­u­ments and in­ter­views with eth­nic mi­nor­ity women. China is ac­cused of lock­ing more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Mus­lim mi­nori­ties in re-ed­u­ca­tion camps.

Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties are car­ry­ing out forced ster­il­i­sa­tions of women in an ap­par­ent cam­paign to curb the growth of eth­nic mi­nor­ity pop­u­la­tions in the western Xin­jiang re­gion, ac­cord­ing to re­search pub­lished yes­ter­day. The re­port, based on a com­bi­na­tion of of­fi­cial re­gional data, pol­icy doc­u­ments and in­ter­views with eth­nic mi­nor­ity women, has prompted an in­ter­na­tional group of law­mak­ers to call for a United Na­tions in­ves­ti­ga­tion into China’s poli­cies in the re­gion.

The move is likely to en­rage Bei­jing, which has de­nied tram­pling on the rights of eth­nic groups in Xin­jiang, and which yes­ter­day called the al­le­ga­tions “base­less”. The country is ac­cused of lock­ing more than 1mn Uighurs and other mostly Mus­lim mi­nori­ties in re-ed­u­ca­tion camps. Bei­jing de­scribes the fa­cil­i­ties as job train­ing cen­tres aimed at steer­ing peo­ple away from ter­ror­ism fol­low­ing a spate of vi­o­lence blamed on sep­a­ratists.

Now a re­port by Adrian Zenz, a Ger­man re­searcher who has ex­posed China’s poli­cies in Xin­jiang, says Uighur women and other eth­nic mi­nori­ties are be­ing threat­ened with in­tern­ment in the camps for re­fus­ing to abort preg­nan­cies that ex­ceed birth quo­tas. Zenz’s datadriven work - which uses pub­lic doc­u­ments found by scour­ing China’s in­ter­net - on the camps has pre­vi­ously been cited by ex­perts on a UN panel in­ves­ti­gat­ing the fa­cil­i­ties. Women who had fewer than the legally per­mit­ted limit of two chil­dren were in­vol­un­tar­ily fit­ted with IUDs (birth con­trol de­vices), says the re­port.

It also re­ports that some of the women said they were be­ing co­erced into re­ceiv­ing ster­il­i­sa­tion surg­eries. For­mer camp de­tainees said they were given in­jec­tions that stopped their pe­ri­ods, or caused un­usual bleed­ing con­sis­tent with the ef­fects of birth con­trol drugs.

Gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments stud­ied by Zenz also showed that women in some ru­ral mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties in the re­gion re­ceived fre­quent manda­tory gy­nae­co­log­i­cal exams and bi­monthly preg­nancy tests from lo­cal health of­fi­cials.

Zenz found that pop­u­la­tion growth in Xin­jiang coun­ties pre­dom­i­nantly home to eth­nic mi­nori­ties fell be­low the av­er­age growth in pri­mar­ily Han ma­jor­ity coun­ties be­tween 2017 and 2018, a year af­ter the of­fi­cially recorded rate of ster­il­i­sa­tions in the re­gion sharply over­took the na­tional rate in 2016. Uighur ac­tivists say China is us­ing the in­tern­ment camps to con­duct a mas­sive brain­wash­ing cam­paign aimed at erad­i­cat­ing their dis­tinct cul­ture and Is­lamic iden­tity.

China ap­pears to be us­ing co­er­cive birth con­trol in Xin­jiang as part of a “wider game plan of ethno-ra­cial dom­i­na­tion,” Zenz wrote in the re­port. “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 UN def­i­ni­tions, Zenz said in the re­port.

The In­ter-Par­lia­men­tary Al­liance on China (IPAC), a group of North Amer­i­can, Euro­pean and Aus­tralian mem­bers of par­lia­ment from a range of political par­ties, said in a state­ment yes­ter­day it would push for a le­gal in­ves­ti­ga­tion on “whether or not crimes against hu­man­ity or geno­cide have taken place” in Xin­jiang.

IPAC was formed in June with a stated mis­sion of stand­ing up against “chal­lenges posed by the present con­duct and fu­ture am­bi­tions of the Peo­ple’s Re­pub­lic of China.” China’s for­eign min­istry said the al­le­ga­tions were “base­less” and showed “ul­te­rior mo­tives.” For­eign min­istry spokesman Zhao Li­jian blasted me­dia out­lets for “cooking up false in­for­ma­tion on Xin­jiang-re­lated is­sues,” say­ing at a reg­u­lar press brief­ing that Xin­jiang is “har­mo­nious and sta­ble.”

The rights group World Uyghur Congress said the re­port showed a “geno­ci­dal el­e­ment of the CCP’s (Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party) poli­cies” and called in a state­ment for in­ter­na­tional ac­tion to con­front China.

This file photo shows a Uighur woman hold­ing a baby in a restau­rant in Hotan in China’s north­west Xin­jiang re­gion. Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties are car­ry­ing out forced ster­il­i­sa­tions of women in an ap­par­ent cam­paign to curb the growth of eth­nic mi­nor­ity pop­u­la­tions in the western Xin­jiang re­gion, ac­cord­ing to re­search pub­lished yes­ter­day.

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