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Uyghur women ‘no longer baby-making machines’: China boasts about falling birth rates

China claims the collapse in population growth of the Uyghur community in Xinjiang is due to the “eradication of religious extremism” and not the result of extensively documented forced abortions and sterilisations.

On Thursday 8th January, the state-run publication, China Daily, claimed that: “Decreases in the birth rate and natural population growth rate in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in 2018 resulted from the eradication of religious extremism”.

China Daily cited a study on population change by the Xinjiang Development Research Center claiming that “extremism had incited people to resist family planning and its eradication had given Uygur women more autonomy when deciding whether to have children”.

The state-controlled media outlet quoted the report as saying: “For a period of time, the penetration of religious extremism made implementing family planning policy in southern Xinjiang, including Kashgar and Hotan prefectures, particularly difficult […] That had led to rapid population growth in those areas as some extremists incited locals to resist family planning policy, resulting in the prevalence of early marriage and bigamy, and frequent unplanned births”.

“The minds of Uygur women in Xinjiang were emancipated”

In a Tweet linking to the article which references the study from the Xinjiang Development Research Center, the US Chinese Embassy said:

“Study shows that in the process of eradicating extremism, the minds of Uygur women in Xinjiang were emancipated and gender equality and reproductive health were promoted, making them no longer baby-making machines. They are more confident and independent”.

Twitter subsequently removed this post stating it had “violated the Twitter rules”. Revealingly, the Chinese Embassy’s Twitter account later reposted the story under a different caption:

“Study shows the population change in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region involves the overall improvement in population quality. An increasing number of youths chose to spend more time and energy on personal development”.

According to other Chinese state media reports, women were “spontaneously” taking up free IUDs and voluntarily being sterilised. The changes in birth rate, the state-run media say, were due to government limits on family size, poverty alleviation and education improvements, in addition to changes to cultural marriage practices and religious opposition to contraception.

Forced abortion and sterilisation among the Uyghur in Xijiang

Forced abortions and sterilisations are a well-documented phenomenon in China. Last year a doctor who escaped the regime in China shared how she participated in at least 500-600 operations on Uyghur women in the country, including forced abortion, forced sterilisation and forced removal of wombs.

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

In Westminster, pressure is mounting on the Government to confront the Chinese Communist Party as MPs draw attention to the population-suppression measures taken against the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, China.

In an ‘Urgent Question’ to the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, in December 2020, Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP said:

“[It has been] shown that the Chinese Government forced Uyghur women into sterilisation. As a result, the Uyghur population in those regions fell by as much as 84% between 2015 and 2018. That is action verging, I believe, on genocide”.

Collapsing population

Similarly, Fiona Bruce MP has urged the Government to do all within its power to end the “appalling” treatment of the Uyghur community at the hands of the Chinese Government.

Mrs Bruce said: “[The Uyghurs] are violated through forced birth control, pregnancy checks, the mandatory insertion of painful intrauterine devices, forced sterilisation and abortions. We hear that that is happening at scale, to hundreds of thousands of women”.

“These population control measures are backed by mass detention as a punishment for failure to comply. The threat of being sent to prison – to the camps that we hear so much about – hangs over these women”.

An investigation by Associated Press found hundreds of thousands of Uyghur women have been subjected to forced to pregnancy checks, and forced sterilisation and abortion. The AP found birthrates fell by more than 60% between 2015 and 2018 in the mostly Uyghur regions of Hotan and Kashgar, compared with a fall of 4.2% nationwide.

These attacks on the Uyghur population through forced abortion and sterilisation, are taking place at the same time as hundreds of thousands are being used for slave labour. UK businesses are currently being urged to ensure their supply chains do not participate in this in any way.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson said: “The barefaced lies of the Chinese Communist Party about their unethical treatment of their own Uyghur population are truly astonishing”.

“We have heard of the extent of the crimes being committed against the Uyghur community, not only from independent reports, but also directly from those who participated in forced abortions and sterilisation and who subsequently escaped the regime”.

“The adoption of Western-style rhetoric in regard to ‘autonomy’, women being ‘emancipated’, the view of women as ‘baby-making machines’ and even the notion of fighting ‘religious extremism’ is revealing. It seems that the CCP is attempting to appropriate terms and phrases often used by women’s rights organisations and promoters of abortion to justify and obscure their horrendous human rights abuses”.

“Almost as disconcerting as the original, now deleted, tweet from the Chinese Embassy in the USA, is their follow-up post saying that their population control measures ‘involves the overall improvement in population quality’. This sounds eerily similar to the comments eugenicist and namesake of abortion giant, MSI Reproductive Choices, Marie Stopes made regarding her concerns about ‘the ever increasing stock of degenerate, feeble-minded and unbalanced’ who ‘are like the parasite upon the healthy tree sapping its vitality’.

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