Beijing Policies Could Cut Millions of Uyghur Births in Xinjiang

Uyghur female political (non-criminal) prisoners in a concentration camp in Xinjiang.
Uyghur female political (non-criminal) prisoners in a concentration camp in Xinjiang. (WUC)


A new research and analysis reported on Monday shows the intent behind the Chinese government’s long-term the birth-cut plan for the Uyghur population.

Communist China's birth control policies could cut between 2.6 to 4.5 million births of the Uyghur and other ethnic minorities in southern Xinjiang within 20 years, up to a third of the region’s projected minority population, according to a new analysis by a German researcher.

The report includes a previously unreported cache of research produced by Chinese academics and officials on Beijing’s intent behind the birth control policies in Xinjiang, where official data shows birth-rates have already dropped by 48.7 per cent between 2017 and 2019.

Mr. Adrian Zenz’s research comes amid growing calls among some western countries for an investigation into whether China’s actions in Xinjiang amount to genocide, a charge Beijing vehemently denies.

The research by Mr. Zenz is the first such peer reviewed analysis of the long-term population impact of Beijing’s multi-year crackdown in the western region.


Beijing’s policies could increase the predominant Han Chinese population in southern Xinjiang

On Monday Mr. Zenz shared his findings with the members of Uyghur Tribunal, the private institution comprising of lawyers and litigators who decided to formulate the judgment on the Communist China's policy towards the inhabitants of East Turkistan.

Since Friday the judges have heard the testimonies of the witness who survived the tortures, hard labor and imprisonment. Several specialists on Xinjiang also appeared in person and via video-link before the Tribunal in London.

Based on analysis of official birth data, demographic projections and ethnic ratios proposed by Chinese academics and officials, Zenz estimates Beijing’s policies could increase the predominant Han Chinese population in southern Xinjiang to around 25 per cent from 8.4 per cent currently.

This goal is only achievable if they do what they have been doing, which is drastically suppressing Uyghur birth rates, Zenz said.

The new research compares a population projection done by Xinjiang-based researchers for the government-run Chinese Academy of Sciences based on data predating the crackdown, to official data on birth-rates and what Beijing describes as “population optimization” measures for Xinjiang’s ethnic minorities introduced since 2017.

It found the population of ethnic minorities in Uyghur-dominated southern Xinjiang would reach between 8.6-10.5 million by 2040 under the new birth prevention policies. That compares to 13.14 million projected by Chinese researchers using data pre-dating the implemented birth policies and a current population of around 9.47 million.


Top CCP Academic: "Xinjiang must “end the dominance of the Uyghur group”

Zenz’s report says analyses published by state funded academics and officials between 2014 and 2020 show the strict implementation of the policies are driven by national security concerns, and are motivated by a desire to dilute the Uyghur population, increase Han migration and boost loyalty to the ruling Communist Party.

For example, 15 documents created by state funded academics and officials showcased in the Zenz report include comments from Xinjiang officials and state-affiliated academics referencing the need to increase the proportion of Han residents and decrease the ratio of Uyghurs or described the high concentration of Uyghurs as a threat to social stability.

The problem in southern Xinjiang is mainly the unbalanced population structure the proportion of the Han population is too low,” Liu Yilei, an academic and the deputy secretary general of the Communist Party committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps,  a government body with administrative authority in the region, told a July 2020 symposium, published on the Xinjiang University website.

Xinjiang must “end the dominance of the Uyghur group”, said Liao Zhaoyu, dean of the institute of frontier history and geography at Xinjiang’s Tarim University at an academic event in 2015, shortly before the birth policies and broader internment programme were enforced in full.

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