China is forcibly sterilizing Uighur women and giving them unwanted abortions in a mission to purge the Muslim minority, report says
- Chinese authorities are forcibly sterilizing Uighur Muslim women and performing abortions on them, an Associated Press investigation found.
- Since 2016, at least 1 million Uighurs have been imprisoned at detention camps as part of Beijing’s moves to stamp out their culture and ethnicity.
- The AP reported that Uighur women were regularly made to take pregnancy tests and forced into abortions if they test positive.
- Women have also been forcibly fitted with intrauterine devices, or IUDs, to prevent pregnancy, and in some cases they have been sterilized, the AP said.
- Citing interviews and data, the AP reported that the measures had affected “hundreds of thousands” of Uighur women.
New evidence has come to light exposing the draconian tactics Chinese authorities are using to persecute Uighur Muslims, including forced abortions, birth control, and sterilization.
An Associated Press report published on Monday cited interviews with 30 former prisoners, family members, and a former detention-camp instructor, as well as government statistics and state documents.
Since 2016, China has interned at least 1 million Uighurs in hundreds of prisons, which it euphemistically calls “reeducation centers” or “vocational training and education centers.” They are, in reality, concentration camps designed to brainwash Uighurs and force them to abandon their heritage and religion.
According to the AP, authorities at the camps and in Xinjiang, the Uighur heartland also known as East Turkestan, have been cracking down on the birth rate by:
- Regularly subjecting women to pregnancy tests.
- Forcing those who test positive to have abortions.
- Forcibly fitting women with intrauterine devices, or IUDs, to prevent pregnancy.
- Force-feeding Uighur women birth-control pills or injecting them with fluids — without saying what they are — to make them sterile.
Reports of forced abortions and sterilization have surfaced in the past, but the AP investigation indicates that the forced birth control is much more widespread than previously thought. The AP said the measures affected “hundreds of thousands” of Uighur women.
The AP also found that a major reason Uighurs were sent to camps was being deemed to have too many children.
The government ordered one Chinese-born Kazakh woman to get an IUD inserted after her third child, the AP said. She was later told to pay a $2,685 fine for having more than two children.
The AP said it spoke with 15 Uighurs and Kazakhs who said they knew people who had been interned or jailed for having too many children.
Additionally, the AP said, citing several former detainees, that “women are subjected to forced IUDs and what appear to be pregnancy prevention shots.”
“Many felt dizzy, tired or ill, and women stopped getting their periods,” the AP reported. “After being released and leaving China, some went to get medical check-ups and found they were sterile.”
From 2016 to 2018, the number of sterilizations rose sevenfold in Xinjiang, the AP said.
The birth rate in Xinjiang has plummeted in recent years, largely as a result of the crackdown: It fell by nearly 24% in 2019, the AP said.
“The parents of three or more” are “ripped away from their families unless they can pay huge fines,” the AP said. “Police raid homes, terrifying parents as they search for hidden children.”
Beijing’s mission to erase Uighur culture
Beijing is on a mission to erase non-Han Chinese culture. As Business Insider’s Alexandra Ma previously reported, it “sees all Uighur people as terrorists” and often uses religious extremism as a reason to crack down on them.
The government has harnessed tech to monitor the population, including installing spyware on Uighurs’ phones, identifying them via a file-sharing app, and installing hundreds of thousands of facial-recognition cameras across Xinjiang.
At the camps, prisoners are forced to redecorate their homes to make them look traditionally Chinese and to sing propaganda songs to get food.
Last week, the spotlight on China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims intensified after John Bolton, the former US national security adviser, wrote in his new tell-all book that President Donald Trump said Chinese President Xi Jinping “should go ahead with building the camps,” adding that Trump thought it “was exactly the right thing to do.”
Shortly after reports about Bolton’s book were published, Trump signed a bill to sanction China over its oppression of Uighurs.