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World Drop in Xinjiang birthrate largest in recent history: report

09:10  12 may  2021
09:10  12 may  2021 Source:   msn.com

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BEIJING -- 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 “As far as it’s possible to find out, it is by far the largest drop there is,” Ruser said. “It makes you realize 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

The government of China's Xinjiang region has confirmed a significant drop in the birth rate in Xinjiang , China, but denied reports of forced sterilization and genocide in a letter to CNN. The letter comes after a previous CNN report that documented a campaign of abuse and control by Beijing targeting women from the Uyghur minority.

BEIJING (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.

Children play with water toys at a public square in Aksu in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) © Provided by Associated Press Children play with water toys at a public square in Aksu in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) A child waits on a motor bike in Kashgar in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Friday, March 19, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) © Provided by Associated Press A child waits on a motor bike in Kashgar in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Friday, March 19, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

The report from the Australian Strategy Policy Institute, obtained exclusively ahead of publication by The Associated Press, showed the 48.74% decline was concentrated in areas with many Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other largely Muslim ethnic minorities, based on Chinese government statistics over nearly a decade.

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Sterilization rates in Xinjiang surged by almost sixfold from 2015 to 2018, to just over 60,000 procedures, even as they plummeted around the country, according to calculations by a noted researcher Adrian Zenz. As Beijing pushes back against growing criticism, it has withheld some key statistics, including annually published county-level data on birth - rates and birth control use for 2019. Other official data for the region as a whole showed a steep drop in IUD insertions and sterilizations that year, though the number of sterilizations was still mostly higher than before the campaign began, reported The New York Times.

The sharp drop in birthrates in the region was “shocking” and clearly in part a result of the campaign to tighten enforcement of birth control policies, said Wang Feng, a professor of sociology and expert in Chinese population policies at the University of California, Irvine. But other factors could include a fall in the “In the process of deradicalization, some women’s minds have also been liberated,” a January report by a Xinjiang government research center read. “They have avoided the pain of being trapped by extremism and being turned into reproductive tools.” Women like Ms. Sedik, who had obeyed the

Birthrates in largely minority counties fell 43.7% 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.

A man holds a child as they watch a dance performance at the International Grand Bazaar in Urumqi in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Wednesday, April 21, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein): China Xinjiang Birthrates © Provided by Associated Press China Xinjiang Birthrates

“As far as it’s possible to find out, it is by far the largest drop there is,” Ruser said. “It makes you realize the scale of these family planning policies and the scale of this crackdown, the scale of societal control that authorities are looking for.”

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The birth rate in Xinjiang plunged by 24% in 2019, the AP said, and in certain parts of the region birth rates had fallen by more than 60% from 2015 to 2018. The region's government told CNN: “As a part of China, Xinjiang implements family planning policies in accordance with national laws and regulations, and has never formulated and implemented family planning policies for a single ethnic minority.” Uyghurs make up about 46% of Xinjiang 's population; Han Chinese 39%, Kazakhs 7%, and Huis 5%. A large number of minorities make up the remaining 3%.

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. The sterilizations and contraceptive procedures, it said, freed women from backward attitudes about procreation and religion, reported The New York Times. Moreover, Beijing corralled Uyghurs and Kazakhs into mass internment camps, it moved in tandem to ramp up enforcement of birth controls. Sterilization rates in Xinjiang surged by almost sixfold from 2015 to 2018, to just over 60,000 procedures, even as they plummeted around the country, according to

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.

his preview image of an AP digital embed  shows the precipitous drop birthrate of Xinjiang. A second chart shows that the largest declines in population are in counties where Uyghurs and other indigenous communities are concentrated.  (AP Digital Embed) © Provided by Associated Press his preview image of an AP digital embed shows the precipitous drop birthrate of Xinjiang. A second chart shows that the largest declines in population are in counties where Uyghurs and other indigenous communities are concentrated. (AP Digital Embed)

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 U.S. and other Western countries to discredit them. The AP confirmed many of the figures were based on Chinese government statistics.

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The birth rate in Xinjiang dropped from 15.88 per 1,000 people in 2017 to 10.69 per 1,000 a year later, according to the newly-revealed figures. Communist officials said the falling birth rate was caused by 'the comprehensive implementation of the family planning policy'. They said births in Xinjiang had fallen by 120,000 in the Reports have found evidence of armed police knocking on doors to check for pregnant women and rewarding people who report illegal births in Xinjiang . Human rights groups say Uighurs face 'grave persecution' in the re-education camps where a million people are thought to be detained.

Local children at play in Shule county in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Saturday, March 20, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) © Provided by Associated Press Local children at play in Shule county in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Saturday, March 20, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

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. The crackdown has triggered sanctions from the West, and on Wednesday a group of Western countries are slated to hold a U.N. event on China’s repression of the Uyghurs.

Eysa Imin, a Uyghur from Korla in the center of Xinjiang, recalled eight people in his neighborhood detained for having too many children. When he himself was thrown in a detention center in 2017, he ended up sharing a cell with an old schoolmate who had been arrested, tortured, and interrogated for having four children.

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“When they arrested him, they said it was a sign of extremism,” Imin said. “The government started connecting having many children with Islamic extremism. ... It feels like they want to eliminate us.”

Experts note that the tightening birth control measures must be understood in the broader context of fear that's pervasive among Xinjiang’s minorities.

“Just for self-survival, you’re going to be publicly compliant, for fear that you or your family might be detained,” said Timothy Grose, a professor specializing in Xinjiang at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Indiana. “Any sign of resistance could get you sent to reeducation.”

For decades, China had one of the most extensive systems of minority preferential treatment in the world, including hiring quotas and extra points on college entrance exams. The government also allowed ethnic minorities two or three children, even as it restricted its Han majority to just one child.

Such benefits have been rolled back and even reversed under President Xi Jinping, China’s most authoritarian leader in decades. State-backed scholars began calling on the government to crack down on large religious minority families, calling them breeding grounds for terrorism and extremism. In April 2017, Xinjiang's top official called for the “effective containment of illegal births” specifically in southern Xinjiang, where most Uyghurs live.

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A child reacts to eating chili in Shule county in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Saturday, March 20, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) © Provided by Associated Press A child reacts to eating chili in Shule county in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Saturday, March 20, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

In the eyes of Chinese officials, the current measures taken are simply “correcting” lax birth controls for minorities. The government has repeatedly said that abortions, sterilizations and IUD insertions in Xinjiang are voluntary, and on paper, both Han Chinese and Uyghurs can have two children.

Locals buy bread from a street vendor in Shule county in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Saturday, March 20, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) © Provided by Associated Press Locals buy bread from a street vendor in Shule county in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Saturday, March 20, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

However, in practice, minorities appear to be singled out and targeted for especially draconian birth control measures, the report said. Birthrates in heavily minority counties fell by nearly two thirds since the new measures were implemented, the analysis shows, while Han Chinese counties saw much milder declines in line with the rest of China. Han-majority districts in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, even saw booming birthrates.

The recent two-year decline in birthrates in Xinjiang is far larger than that of China over the entire 36-year length of the ‘one child’ policy, under which Han Chinese were subject to stricter birth restrictions, Ruser noted. ASPI also unearthed government notices showing that Xinjiang officials are being given quotas to lower birthrates, with punishments meted out to those who failed to meet family planning targets. A target set in one heavily Uyghur county is lower than the birthrate of South Korea, the lowest in the world.

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Children play on a playground near security cameras at a public square in Aksu in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) © Provided by Associated Press Children play on a playground near security cameras at a public square in Aksu in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

The crackdown comes even as Chinese officials mull lifting restrictions on births nationwide. On Tuesday, officials announced that China’s population has barely grown over the past decade, fueling fears that the country faces a “demographic time bomb.”

The report also found that about half of Xinjiang’s 106 county-level administrative units have not published birthrate figures for 2019, though they should have been published last year.

“These statistics have become politically problematic,” Ruser said. “It’s easier to simply not publish the data.”

Schoolchildren dance during a music class at a primary school, as seen during a government-organized visit for foreign journalists, in Awati Township in Kashgar in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Monday, April 19, 2021. 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.  (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) © Provided by Associated Press Schoolchildren dance during a music class at a primary school, as seen during a government-organized visit for foreign journalists, in Awati Township in Kashgar in western China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Monday, April 19, 2021. 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. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

China uses coercive policies in Xinjiang to drive down Uyghur birth rates, think tank says .
China uses coercive policies in Xinjiang to drive down Uyghur birth rates, think tank saysThe Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report, citing official Chinese data, said that there has been an "unprecedented and precipitous drop in official birth-rates in Xinjiang since 2017," when China began a campaign to control birth rates in the region.

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