Tribunal to decide on whether forced abortions and sterilisations in China constitute genocide

An independent tribunal in London has been launched to investigate whether the Chinese Government’s attempt to limit the country’s Uyghur minority population, which includes forcing unwanted abortions and surgical sterilisations on the Uyghur women, constitute genocide.

The investigation will be led by prominent human rights lawyer, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, who was asked by the World Uyghur Congress to investigate “ongoing atrocities and possible genocide” against the Uighur people.

While the tribunal does not have government backing, it is the latest attempt to hold China accountable for its treatment of its minority Uyghur population.

Organisers expect to reveal new evidence and testimony against China’s control of the Uyghur population over several days’ hearings next year. A verdict is expected by the end of 2021.

Sir Geoffrey said that the process will nonetheless be one way to address the lack of action in tackling the alleged abuses by “filling the gap with reliable information”.

“There is no other way of bringing the leadership of the (Chinese) Communist Party collectively or individually to judgement,” he added.

Brutality of China’s regime exposed

In July, the brutality of China’s Government was exposed when eyewitness accounts and a damning report revealed abortions, contraceptive devices and surgical sterilisation measures are being forced upon women in Xinjiang in an apparent attempt to limit the population of Muslim Uighurs.

The report by German researcher Dr Adrian Zen, titled Sterilizations, Forced Abortions, and Mandatory Birth Control: The CCP’s Campaign to Suppress Uyghur Birthrates in Xinjiang, details the severe human rights abuses in Xinjiang and argues that these abuses meet the United Nation’s criteria for genocide.

Warning that the situation in Xinjiang has become “especially severe” in recent years, the report states: “Government documents bluntly mandate that birth control violations are punishable by extrajudicial internment in ‘training’ camps.”

While evidence of forced abortions and birth control has surfaced before, news agency AP declared that the practice is far more widespread and systematic than previously known.

Their investigative report highlights the brutal treatment of women and unborn babies through the eyewitness accounts of those affected.

Last year, Adrian Zenz estimated there were up to 1.5 million Uighur people and other minorities being detained in so-called political and religious “re-education” camps, sometimes referred to as “training” camps. 

Full-term abortions and infanticide are common practice

This month, a doctor who escaped the regime in China revealed how she participated in at least 500-600 operations on Uighur women in the country, including forced abortion, forced sterilisation and forced removal of wombs.

Speaking to ITV News, the Uighur woman also disclosed that abortions were carried out at full-term and that infanticide – the purposeful causing of a baby’s death – are common practice in China.

She added that on at least one occasion a baby was still moving and in their “final moments of life” when it was discarded into the rubbish.

The doctor, who did not want to be named by ITV News, said she felt “sorry to see the killing of a small baby” but felt no remorse as she was made to believe it was just a job.

UK working to hold China to account

The Foreign Office told ITV News: “The series of reports from ITV, add to the growing body of evidence on the serious violation of human rights against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

“The UK government is playing a leading role in coordinating international efforts to hold China to account for these violations and continues to raise concerns with Chinese officials.

“We also call on China to immediately implement UN recommendations in Xinjiang – to allow UN observers unfettered access to the region, and to end the widespread practice of extra-judicial detention.”

Full-term abortions and infanticide are common practice in China, reveals doctor who escaped regime

A doctor who escaped the regime in China has shared how she participated in at least 500-600 operations on Uighur women in the country, including forced abortion, forced sterilisation and forced removal of wombs.

Speaking to ITV News, the Uighur woman also revealed abortions were carried out at full-term and that infanticide – the purposeful causing of a baby’s death – was common practice.

She added that on at least one occasion a baby was still moving and in their “final moments of life” when it was discarded into the rubbish.

The doctor, who did not want to be named by ITV News, said she felt “sorry to see the killing of a small baby” but felt no remorse as she was made to believe it was just a job.

However, having had time to reflect, she now feels regret and is helping other Uighur minority women who have escaped China to have babies by removing contraceptive implants that had been forced upon them.

Scared

Another woman told ITV News that her first child had been forcibly taken from her body.

As a result she hid her next pregnancy. She told ITV News: “I dressed very differently to hide the bump. I pulled in my stomach.”

Through tears, she added: “I felt so scared and sad. I couldn’t tell anyone my feelings.”

“Nowhere in the world should someone need to hide their baby to save it.”

Both women are now in Istanbul, Turkey which offers sanctuary to Uighur women who have escaped the horrors of their homeland.

Brutality of China’s regime exposed

In July, the brutality of China’s Government was exposed when a damning report revealed abortions, contraceptive devices and surgical sterilisations measures are being forced upon women in Xinjiang in an apparent attempt to limit the population of Muslim Uighurs.

The report by German researcher Dr Adrian Zen, titled Sterilizations, Forced Abortions, and Mandatory Birth Control: The CCP’s Campaign to Suppress Uyghur Birthrates in Xinjiang, details the severe human rights abuses in Xinjiang and argues that these abuses meet the United Nation’s criteria for genocide.

Warning that the situation in Xinjiang has become “especially severe” in recent years, the report states: “Government documents bluntly mandate that birth control violations are punishable by extrajudicial internment in ‘training’ camps.”

While evidence of forced abortions and birth control has surfaced before, news agency AP declared at the time that the practice is far more widespread and systematic than previously known.

Their investigative report highlights the brutal treatment of women and unborn babies through the eyewitness accounts of those affected.

Last year, Adrian Zenz estimated there were up to 1.5 million Uighur people and other minorities being detained in so-called political and religious “re-education” camps, sometimes referred to as “training” camps. 

Forced abortions

One former detainee, Tursunay Ziyawudun, told news agency AP that she was injected until she stopped having her period, and kicked repeatedly in the lower stomach during interrogations.

As a result, she now can’t have children and often doubles over in pain, bleeding from her womb.

Ziyawudun is among a number of women who have reported forced abortions to AP. She shared how a woman in another class turned out to be pregnant and disappeared from the camp.

Ziyawudun added that two of her cousins, who were pregnant at the time, “got rid of their children on their own because they were so afraid”.

She also revealed that a “teacher” at her camp told women they would face abortions if they were found to be pregnant during gynaecology exams.

Another woman, Gulbakhar Jalilova, confirmed that detainees in her camp were forced to abort their babies.

She also saw a new mum, still leaking breast milk, who did not know what had happened to her infant.

Jalilova said she had met doctors and medical students who were detained for helping Uighurs dodge the system and give birth at home.

Having too many children is also seen as a major reason people are sent to “re-education” camps, with parents of three or more children forcibly taken away from their families unless they can pay huge fines.

Police will often raid the homes of terrified parents searching for hidden children.

After Gulnar Omirzakh, a Chinese-born Kazakh, had her third child, authorities ordered her to get an intrauterine device (IUD) – a long lasting method of birth control – fitted.

Despite her seemingly complying with the order, two years later, in January 2018, four officials in military camouflage came knocking at her door anyway.

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

She was warned if she couldn’t pay she would join her husband in a “re-education” camp.

A teary Omirzakh said: “They want to destroy us as a people.”

‘Huge psychological pressure’ 

A former teacher drafted to work as an instructor at a detention camp described her experience with IUDs to the AP.

She said Uighur residents had to chant: “If we have too many children, we’re religious extremists.”

As one of the officials in the teacher’s compound, she was told she needed to have an IUD fitted. But, she protested saying she was nearly 50 with just one child and no plans to have more.

Her protests were in vain though and she was forced into a bus with four armed officers and taken to a hospital where hundreds of Uighur women lined up in silence, waiting for IUDs to be inserted. Some wept quietly, but nobody dared say a word because of the surveillance cameras hanging overhead.

The former teacher said her IUD was designed to be irremovable and caused her headaches and non stop menstrual bleeding, during the first 15 days. 

“I couldn’t eat properly, I couldn’t sleep properly. It gave me huge psychological pressure,” she added. “Only Uighurs had to wear it.”

The result of China’s extreme population control campaign and forced abortions is a climate of terror around having children, which AP said could be seen in interview after interview.

The news agency collected the testimonies of thirty women in the midst of this brutality.

Chinese health statistics also show a sterilization boom in Xinjiang.

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 fell by 24% last year alone compared to just 4.2% nationwide.

‘Slow, painful, creeping genocide’

Dr Zenz said: “This kind of drop is unprecedented….there’s a ruthlessness to it. This is part of a wider control campaign to subjugate the Uighurs.”

He added that the findings “provide the strongest evidence yet that Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang meet one of the UN’s genocide criteria”

Joanne Smith Finley, an expert on Uighurs at Newcastle University, agrees and said: “It’s genocide, full stop.”

She added: “It’s not immediate, shocking, mass-killing on the spot type genocide, but it’s slow, painful, creeping genocide.

“These are direct means of genetically reducing the Uighur population.”

The report has received a large amount of media attention and has prompted international calls for the United Nations to investigate.

In a statement on Monday, the Interparliamentary Alliance on China, an international cross-party group of politicians including Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, and US senator Marco Rubio, called on the UN to “establish an international, impartial, independent investigation into the situation in the Xinjiang region”.

“A body of mounting evidence now exists, alleging mass incarceration, indoctrination, extrajudicial detention, invasive surveillance, forced labor, and the destruction of Uyghur cultural sites, including cemeteries, together with other forms of abuse,” the statement said.

“The world cannot remain silent in the face of unfolding atrocities. Our countries are bound by solemn obligations to prevent and punish any effort to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group ‘in whole or in part’.”

According to the BBC, China’s foreign ministry responded to the report on Monday by saying the allegations were “baseless” and showed “ulterior motives”.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused media outlets of “cooking up false information on Xinjiang-related issues”.

Painful legacy of one and two-child policies

Earlier this year, a Chinese mother who was given a forced abortion after falling pregnant with her third child was granted refugee status in New Zealand.

The family’s story offers a glimpse into how China’s former one-child policy and current two-child policy continue to leave a painful legacy

Although China’s brutal one-child policy was ended in 2015, it has now been replaced by a similarly draconian two-child policy and the devastating consequences of forced abortions, sterilizations, abandoned newborns, and Government abductions are still ongoing.

Chinese-born filmmakers Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang exposed some of the consequences of the policy by retelling some of the stories of those who lived through it. 

In their One Child Nation documentary, which can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video, an 84-year-old midwife revealed she was unsure how many babies she had delivered, but had performed a total of between 50,000 to 60,000 sterilizations and abortions.

“I counted this out of guilt, because I aborted and killed babies,” the midwife, Huaru Yuan, continues. “Many I induced alive and killed. My hands trembled doing it.”

One mother in China told the BBC that she would have liked a second child but was also forced to have an abortion.

She said: “You either go willingly or they come for you.”

Another mother revealed how she was forced to have an abortion before the one-child policy was relaxed. Speaking of the ordeal she said: “My baby didn’t die immediately… it kept on struggling inside me.

“It broke my heart, the next day it was born still alive… it cried. The doctor said don’t look at it, you’ll have nightmares.”

94% of Belgian doctors surveyed support ‘after-birth abortion’ for babies with disabilities

‘After-birth abortion’ or infanticide for babies with a disability is supported by more than 9 in 10 Belgian physicians surveyed, a shocking new research paper into abortion attitudes has revealed. 

A poll of healthcare professionals in Flanders, Belgium found 93.6% of physicians surveyed agree that in the event of a serious (non-lethal) neonatal condition, administering drugs with the explicit intention to end neonatal life is acceptable.” 

While the term ‘serious (non-lethal) neonatal condition’ is not defined in the paper, similarly unrestrictive wording in the UK Abortion Act has in practice allowed for abortion right up to birth for babies prenatally diagnosed with a disability – including Down’s syndrome, cleft lip and club foot.

Medical ‘ethicists’ call for after-birth abortion

In 2012, two medical ‘ethicists’ controversially claimed that doctors should be allowed to end the lives of disabled, and even unwanted, newborn babies because they are not “actual persons”

In an article, published by the British Medical Journal, Francesca Minerva and Alberto Guibilini argue that parents should be given the choice to end the lives of their newborn babies shortly after they are born because they are “morally irrelevant” and have “no moral right to life.”

In addition, the ‘ethicists’ argued that infanticide – the purposeful causing of a baby’s death – is no different to abortion since both a foetus and a newborn baby are only “potential persons”.

They suggest infanticide, which they term as “after-birth abortion”, should even be permissible where a baby is perfectly healthy if the birth is unwanted, inconvenient or too expensive for the parents.

The authors state: “Both a foetus and a newborn certainly are human beings and potential persons, but neither is a person in the sense of subject of a moral right to life.”

They add: “What we call ‘after-birth abortion’ should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled”.

The response to the article was widespread outrage and even death threats aimed at the articles two authors. However, what was widely condemned, at the time, now appears to have widespread support among healthcare professionals surveyed in Belgium.

‘Profoundly disturbing’ 

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “Less than ten years ago, there was a strong condemnation of the idea of ending a baby’s life after it had been born, regardless of whether or not it had a disability, when this idea was floated by academics in the British Medical Journal.

“Tragically, the thought of intentionally ending the life of an unborn baby and newborn baby 

now appears to have gone from an outlandish academic thought experiment to be seen as something that is morally acceptable by these healthcare professionals in Belgium.

“It is profoundly disturbing that these healthcare professionals, who should be upholding the right to life and giving every baby the best possible chance at life, are hugely in favour of ‘after-birth abortions’ and infanticide of babies with a disability.”

Heartbreaking accounts of infanticide and forced abortions in North Korea

Forced abortions and infanticide – the purposeful causing of a baby’s death – are among the human rights atrocities experienced by women who have attempted to flee North Korea, according to a United Nations Human Rights report.

100 women have shared ‘heartbreaking’ first-hand accounts of the suffering they and their babies have suffered while in North Korean detention centres.

Researchers found abortions were routinely conducted without the consent of the women detainees and often through violence.

Additionally, they were told about “the killing of new-born babies and the death of women due to lack of medical assistance”.

‘No medical attention’

In one tragic incident of infanticide, one woman’s baby was killed by officials who had forced a premature delivery. The mother reportedly died one week later because she had not received any medical assistance.

The eyewitness account states: “She was taken out of the holding centre and given an injection to make her miscarry. I saw her giving birth with my own eyes… I heard crying, but then the baby was placed face down, wrapped in plastic and taken out of the cell by a prison guard… No medical attention was given [to the mother]. She died after a week or so.”

Left to die in the cold

In another incident, one woman told researchers she may have witnessed a baby left to die in temperatures well below freezing after officials had tortured her heavily pregnant mother to induce premature labour.

She said: “The guards put bricks on her back, and forced her to walk around. She had to walk with the bricks every day for a week or so. She eventually gave birth. The baby was alive when born. I was told to wrap the baby and put it outside. The woman had to work the following day.”

The witness did not see what happened to the baby, but believes the baby may have been left to die in sub-zero conditions during North Korea’s winter.

Forced abortion

One woman disclosed how another woman was forced to have an abortion as her baby had a Chinese father.

“I suffered no violence but the other woman had become pregnant in China so the guards knew that her baby had Chinese blood. This was an issue as the local laws prevented any North Korean woman from giving birth to a mixed race baby. The doctor in the MPS centre told her to get an abortion despite the fact that she wanted to keep the baby. She was eventually forced to have an abortion and sent to a kyohwaso…,” the report said.

‘Systematic’ violations

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said: “These accounts show once again the systemic nature of human rights violations in the DPRK, and the need to keep seeking pathways to proper accountability for such crimes.

“The UN Human Rights Office will continue to gather evidence of this kind to support a process of criminal accountability, whenever and wherever possible.”

The report concludes with recommendations calling for the Government to bring the detention system into line with international norms and standards.

One recommendation states the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) should “take immediate measures to end forced abortion as well as violence intended to provoke miscarriage, including through specific legislation prohibiting such practices, and conduct prompt and impartial investigations into allegations of such acts; and ensure the prosecution of those responsible.”

‘We heard mothers screaming’

Speaking at a UN event in 2017, Ji Hyeon described how she was forced to have an abortion without medication at a local police station when she was three months pregnant.

“My first child passed away without ever seeing the world, without any time for me to apologize,” she tearfully said.

“Pregnant women were forced into harsh labour all day. At night, we heard pregnant mothers screaming and babies died without ever being able to see their mothers.”

At one detention centre, she described how inmates starved to death with their dead bodies given to the guard dogs for food.

‘Barbaric’

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said: “The barbarity being reported in North Korea is shocking. Forced abortion is not restricted to North Korea, however, and is a barbaric practice which we must work to end wherever it happens.”