Pompeo slams China’s forced sterilisation of Uighur Muslims

Pompeo slams China’s forced sterilisation of Uighur Muslims
China's Uighur minority have faced gross human rights abuses.
3 min read
Zenz argues that these findings provide strong evidence of Beijing meeting the genocide criteria. [Getty]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has labelled a report exposing China's use of forced sterilisation to curb the Uighur Muslim minority population as "disturbing".

Pompeo, a staunch critic of China, said that the report by German researcher Adrian Zenz and published by a Washington-based think-tank shows "an utter disregard for the sanctity of human life and basic human dignity".

"We call on the Chinese Communist Party to immediately end these horrific practices and ask all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanising abuses."

The "shocking report" exposed shocking draconian measures deployed by China against the Uighur population in the Xinjiang region, including mass sterilisation through forced IUD implants.

In the report published by the Jamestown Foundation, 2019 documents revealed that regional Chinese authorities targeted up to one third of all married women of childbearing age with the sterlisation campaign.

Budget figures indicate that "hundreds of thousands of tubal ligation sterilisation procedures" were planned.

Zenz argued that these findings provide strong evidence of Beijing meeting the genocide criteria under the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, by "imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group".

"This kind of drop is unprecedented... there's a ruthlessness to it," said Zenz, a leading expert in the policing of China's minority regions.

"This is part of a wider control campaign to subjugate the Uighurs."

China's embassy in Washington dismissed these allegations as "disinformation".

Experts say that the birth control campaign is part of a state-orchestrated assault on the Uighurs to purge them of their faith and identity and force them to assimilate into the dominant Han Chinese culture.

They are subjected to political and religious "re-education" in camps and forced labour at factories.

Children are indoctrinated in orphanages, while Uighurs - who are often but not always Muslim - are also tracked via a vast digital surveillance apparatus.

Once in the detention camps, Uighur women are subjected to forced IUDs and what appears to be pregnancy prevention shots, according to former detainees.

They are also made to attend lectures on how many children they should have.

Seven former detainees told the AP that they were force-fed birth control pills or injected with fluids, often with no explanation. Many felt dizzy, tired, or ill afterwards and women stopped getting their periods.

After being released and leaving China, some went to get medical check-ups and found they were sterile.

It's unclear what former detainees were injected with, but Xinjiang hospital slides obtained by AP show that pregnancy prevention injections - sometimes with the hormonal medication Depo-Provera - are a common family planning measure.

Chinese officials have said in the past that the new measures are merely meant to be fair, allowing both Han Chinese and ethnic minorities the same number of children.

State-backed scholars have for years alleged that large rural religious families were at the root of bombing, stabbing and other attacks the Xinjiang government blamed on Islamic extremists.

For decades, China had one of the most extensive systems of minority entitlements in the world, with Uighurs and others getting more points on college entrance exams, hiring quotas for government posts and laxer birth control restrictions.

Under China's now-abandoned 'one child' policy, the authorities had long encouraged, often forced, contraceptives, sterilisation and abortion on Han Chinese.

Minorities were allowed two children - three if they came from the countryside.

Under President Xi Jinping, China's most authoritarian leader in decades, those benefits are now being rolled back.

In 2014, soon after Xi visited Xinjiang, the region's top official said it was time to implement "equal family planning policies" for all ethnicities and "reduce and stabilise birth rates".

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