LONDON: China is forcing women to be sterilised or fitted with contraceptive devices in Xinjiang in an apparent attempt to limit the population of Muslim Uighurs, according to new research.
The report, by China scholar Adrian Zenz, has prompted international calls for the United Nations to investigate. China denies the allegations in the report, calling them “baseless”. The state is already facing widespread criticism for holding Uighurs in detention camps.
According to a BBC commentary, it is believed there are about one million Uighur people and other mostly-Muslim minorities detained in China, in what the state defines as “re-education” camps.
China previously denied the existence of the camps, before defending them as a necessary measure against terrorism, following separatist violence in the Xinjiang region.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on China to “immediately end these horrific practices”. In a statement, he urged “all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanizing abuses”.
China has faced mounting global scrutiny over its treatment of Uighurs in recent years. An investigation by the BBC in 2019 suggested that children in Xinjiang were being systematically separated from their families in an effort to isolate them from their Muslim communities.
According to Mr Zenz’s analysis of the data, natural population growth in Xinjiang has declined dramatically in recent years, with growth rates falling by 84% in the two largest Uighur prefectures between 2015 and 2018 and declining further in 2019.
Responding to the report on Monday, China’s foreign ministry said the allegations were “baseless” and showed “ulterior motives”.
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused media outlets of “cooking up false information on Xinjiang-related issues”.