As China continues its crackdown on the Uyghur community, the Xi Jinping government forces the women residing in the Xinjiang region to have fewer babies under the name of population control. Amy Qin, writing in The New York Times, said that China is targeting Muslim women in push to suppress births in Xinjiang. When China’s government ordered women in her mostly Muslim community in the region of Xinjiang to be fitted with contraceptive devices, Qelbinur Sedik pleaded for an exemption. She was nearly 50 years old, she told officials. She had obeyed the government’s birth limits and had only one child.
It was no use. The workers threatened to take her to the police if she continued resisting, she said. She gave in and went to a government clinic where a doctor, using a metal speculum, inserted an intrauterine device to prevent pregnancy. She wept through the procedure, reported The New York Times. “I felt like I was no longer a normal woman,” Sedik said, choking up as she described the 2017 ordeal. “Like I was missing something.” In the Xinjiang region, China is forcing them to have fewer, tightening its grip on Muslim ethnic minorities and trying to orchestrate a demographic shift that will diminish their population growth.
It is part of a vast and repressive social re-engineering campaign by a Communist Party determined to eliminate any perceived challenge to its rule, in this case, ethnic separatism. Over the past few years, the party, under its top leader, Xi Jinping, has moved aggressively to subdue Uyghurs and other Central Asian minorities in Xinjiang, putting hundreds of thousands into internment camps and prisons, wrote Amy.
The authorities have placed the region under tight surveillance, sent residents to work in factories and placed children in boarding schools. While the authorities have said the birth control procedures are voluntary, interviews with more than a dozen Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim women and men from Xinjiang, as well as a review of official statistics, government notices and reports in the state-run media, depict a coercive effort by the Chinese Communist Party to control the community’s reproductive rights. The authorities pressured women to use IUDs or get sterilized. As they recuperated at home, government officials were sent to live with them to watch for signs of discontent; one woman described having to endure her minder’s groping, reported The New York Times.
If they had too many children or refused contraceptive procedures, they faced steep fines or, worse, detention in an internment camp. In the camps, the women were at risk of even more abuse. Some former detainees say they were made to take drugs that stopped their menstrual cycles. One woman said she had been raped in a camp, wrote Amy.
To rights advocates and Western officials, the government’s repression in Xinjiang is tantamount to crimes against humanity and genocide, in large part because of the efforts to stem the population growth of Muslim minorities. The Trump administration in January was the first government to declare the crackdown a genocide, with reproductive oppression as a leading reason; the Biden administration affirmed the label in March. The recent declines in the region’s birth-rates, the Chinese government has said, were the result of the authorities’ fully enforcing longstanding birth restrictions.