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'Shocking' report reveals China's mass sterilisation of Uighur women in Xinjiang

Image: Jacky czj /Flickr

China has forcibly used birth control and sterilisation in an attempt to restrict the Uighur population in Xinjiang, says a newly released report, which has sparked widespread condemnation of Beijing from around the globe.

China has previously been accused of detaining over a million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in internment camps without trial. The report by German researcher Adrian Zenz claims that detained women are involuntarily being given injections which have stopped their periods and/or caused unusual bleeding - common side effects of birth control drugs. Likewise, women are reportedly being coerced into sterilisation surgeries, despite having fewer children than the legal limit, and those who have exceeded the limit, have been threatened imprisonment if they refuse to abort their child.

Despite China’s foreign minister denying the claims in the report as “baseless”, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), a group consisting of European, Australian and North American members of Parliament, has issued a statement stating: “a body of mounting evidence now exists, alleging mass incarceration, indoctrination, extrajudicial detention, invasive surveillance, forced labour, and the destruction of Uyghur cultural sites including cemeteries, together with other forms of abuse”. They have called for a UN independent investigation into whether the crimes committed in Xinjiang amount to crimes against humanity or a demographic genocide.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the report’s findings "shocking" and "disturbing". "We call on the Chinese Communist Party to immediately end these horrific practices and ask all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanizing abuses," he added.

Zenz’s study indicated that population growth in Xinjiang has fallen by 84% between 2015 and 2018, and even further in 2019, including in the two largest Uighur Muslim regions. A BBC investigation revealed that children were forcibly taken from their family and indoctrinated with Chinese communist ideology, in an attempt to erase their faith.

The report author also stated that his findings indicate that imposition of measures “intended to prevent births within the group” is within the definition of genocide, as per the UN Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

See more from the Guardian here, the BBC here and Al Jazeera here.

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