Blog, Issues, Religious Freedom, Uyghur Genocide

Beyond Birth Prevention: The Uyghur Genocide

As more people become aware of China’s horrifying human rights violations against the Uyghur people, whistleblowers are releasing more details regarding the concerning methods of birth prevention measures the Chinese government has taken to suppress the growth of the Uyghur population. 

In an investigation by the Associated Press, government statistics, state documents, and witness and victim interviews revealed a disturbing widespread and systematic campaign of forced birth control measures inflicted on the Uyghur people, to the concerning degree of what some experts are calling a form of “Demographic Genocide.”

Birth rates in the mostly Uyghur regions of Kashgar and Hotan plunged a drastic 60% from 2015 to 2018. In Xinjiang, birth rates plummeted 24% within last year alone, compared with the nationwide average of 4.2%. 

In Township and County directives uncovered by Dr. Adrian Zenz, phrases such as “leave no blind spots” and “contain illegal births and lower fertility rates” ordered officials to root out parents who had more children than the birth quota allowed. 

Scenes that seem to be taken right out of a dystopian novel are a reality for minorities in these regions. For example, police raids are taking place to search for pregnant women and children. There are ordered attendance at weekly flag raisings, and officials are threatening minorities with detention if they do not register all of their children. Further, they are forcing women to undergo gynecology exams and take pregnancy tests afterward to, as one Township directive states, “test all who need to be tested” and “detect and deal with those who violate policies early.”

Beyond Birth Control

They don’t stop with birth prevention, however. Those who have had too many children can be arrested and detained in “re-education” camps. Once in the camps, women are subjected to experimental drugs and forced insertions of IUDs. Married women have to take pregnancy tests upon arrival, and if found to be pregnant, are made to undergo an abortion. Detainees have to attend family planning lectures.

Even outside of the camps, IUD and other forms of birth control have skyrocketed within Uyghur majority regions. From 2014 to 2018, IUD insertions jumped 60%, with nearly 330,000 IUDs reported to have been inserted in 2018 alone. Meanwhile, throughout the rest of the country, IUD use dropped as many women went to have their devices removed after the former “one-child” policy repeal.

Since 2016, sterilizations began to skyrocket within Xinjiang, with the Chinese government pouring tens of millions of dollars into cash incentives and surgery programs promoting birth control and sterilization. 

Demographic Genocide

Even more horrifying and draconian is that the Chinese government does not even seem to care to spare the children who are born. In an interview with Radio Free Asia, Hasiyet Abdulla, a former employee of multiple hospitals across the Xinjiang province, mentioned disturbing orders in official documents. 

“The regulations were so strict: there had to be three or four years between children. There were babies born at nine months, which we killed after inducing labor. They did that in the maternity wards because those were the orders,” said Abdulla. She went on to say that when babies were born outside of family planning limits, they would “kill them and dispose of the bodies.” Hospitals had no choice in carrying out these orders and were subjected to fines if they failed to do so.

Explicit in the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is the declaration that imposing measures to prevent births within a group is a physical element of the crime of genocide. If one thing is then clear, China is carrying out a genocidal war against the growth of the Uyghur population. In good conscience and as people of faith, we cannot stand by as China continues with its abhorrent transgressions of human rights treaties and against our moral compass.