Beijing, May 12 (AP):
Xinjiang in far western China had the sharpest known decline in birthrates between 2017 and 2019 of any territory in recent history, according to a new analysis by an Australian think tank.
The report from the Australian Strategy Policy Institute, obtained exclusively ahead of publication by The Associated Press, showed the 48.74 per cent decline was concentrated in areas with many Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other largely Muslim ethnic minorities, based on Chinese government statistics over nearly a decade. Birthrates in largely minority counties fell 43.7 per cent between 2017 and 2018 alone, with over 160,000 fewer babies born. That compares to a slight increase in births in counties populated mostly by China’s Han majority.
Such an extreme drop in birthrates is unprecedented in the 71 years since the United Nations began collecting global fertility statistics, beating out even declines during the Syrian civil war and the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia, said Nathan Ruser, an ASPI researcher and co-author of the report. As far as it’s possible to find out, it is by far the largest drop there is, Ruser said. It makes you realise the scale of these family planning policies and the scale of this crackdown, the scale of societal control that authorities are looking for. The ASPI report corroborates an AP story and a report by German researcher Adrian Zenz last year that found the Chinese government was systemically slashing Uyghur birthrates with sterilizations, abortions and intrauterine devices, and fining and detaining people with three or more children. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Xinjiang government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, Zenz and ASPI have come under increasing attack from Beijing, which points to their funding from the governments of the US and other Western countries to discredit them.
The AP confirmed many of the figures were based on Chinese government statistics.
Over the past four years, the Chinese authorities have carried out a brutal campaign of forced assimilation targeting the Uyghurs, an ethnic Turkic minority native to Xinjiang. Officials cracked down after a series of bombings and knife attacks by separatist Uyghurs, sweeping a million or more people into a network of newly built camps and prisons.
Beijing, May 12 (AP):