New Reports Reveal New Human Rights Violations Waged against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang

Photo by Gabrielle Rocha Rios on Unsplash

Just a few days ago, leading expert on the Uyghur crisis in China, Adrian Zenz, released two novel reports- one of which focuses on information technology company Huawei’s involvement in the persecution of Uyghurs, and the other raising discussion of the evidence of forced sterilization and birth control in Xinjiang.

The first, rather brief, report presents that Huawei’s denial of accusations that they have been involved in the surveillance and detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, is simply false. The company, which has drawn much international attention and condemnation, has previously made the flimsy claim that “we sell technology all around the world…. We don’t know how our customers choose to operate it” is disproved by Zenz, who explains that, contrary to the company’s claims, “the company does engage in business with the security services in Xinjiang, worked with them for years on dedicated, custom-made security solutions, and it even proudly advertises how they are being operated.” In fact, one former Huawei engineer revealed in his public resume that he worked on the “Kashgar Public Security Surveillance and Video Link Network Project;” it is important to note that Kashgar is a region in Xinjiang home to a majority Uyghur population. Moreover,

“Further evidence of Huawei’s collaboration with Xinjiang’s security authorities, including a strategic research collaboration with the public security agencies in Urumqi have been described by others, such as the Global and Main and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. One might want to highlight the fact that Fan Lixin, deputy director of Xinjiang’s Ministry of Public Security, praised the collaboration with Huawei as fulfilling key goals of the region’s domestic security strategy during the 13th 5-year plan (2015-2020).” For the original report, click here.

In the second report, which Zenz published through The Jamestown Foundation, reveals the disconcerting population trends in Xinjiang, stating that “natural population growth in Xinjiang has declined dramatically; growth rates fell by 84 percent in the two largest Uyghur prefectures between 2015 and 2018, and declined further in 2019.” Zenz includes multiple graphs to illustrate that, prior to such a sudden and drastic decrease in population growth, the Uyghur community experience exponential growth, suggesting that measures were imposed following 2015 to forcefully control and decrease population growth among the Uyghur community in Xinjiang. According to Zenz,

“In Xinjiang government circles, the relationship between ‘religious extremism’ and population growth appeared to come to the forefront in the summer of 2015. The timing may be linked to the start of the village-based work team campaign in early 2014, as well as the fact that Xinjiang’s reported natural population growth rate for 2014 was the highest since the year 2000. A May 2015 government teaching broadcast on ethnic unity stated that ‘religious extremism begets re-marriages and illegal extra births’. That same month, a speech given in the context of Hotan Prefecture’s family planning meeting stated that ‘de-extremification is an opportunity to eliminate the influence and interference of religion on family planning.’ This ‘interference’ is also mentioned in the Xinjiang White Paper (新疆白皮书, Xinjiang Baipishu), one of Beijing’s key propaganda documents, which mandates that ‘religion must not be used to interfere in…family planning’ policies.”

As a result of this narrative, the local and national governments began to crack down on families that ‘violate family planning [policies]’ by not using birth control and having more children than permitted- the punishment imposed on such ‘violators’ is extrajudicial internment in detention camps throughout the region. In 2019, the government planned that “80 percent of women of childbearing age in the rural southern four minority prefectures be subjected to ‘birth control measures with long-term effectiveness’ (长效避孕率),” forcing women to use IUDs and participate in bi-monthly pregnancy and IUD checks. Zenz includes a line graph showing that the rate of IUD use in Xinjiang is exponentially higher than the national average.

Additionally, numerous former female detainees at Xinjiang internment camps revealed that Uyghur women inmates were forced into sterilization measures and sometimes were required to ingest medication that stopped their menstrual cycles. Another line graph reveals that as recently as 2018, in Xinjiang there was a record high of nearly 250 sterilizations per 100,000 of the population, whereas at the same time the national average was less than 50 sterilizations per 100,000 of the population. Zenz draws the conclusion that “overall, it is likely that Xinjiang authorities are engaging in the mass sterilization of women with three or more children.” Other evidence reveals that injections are forcibly administered to female inmates in Xinjiang detention centers, and such women have reported loss of menstruation, decreased libido, and an 18-month period of infertility following their last injection.

Zenz closes his novel report by stating that, though the CCP monitors population growth and birth rate throughout the entire Chinese population, the measures taken in Xinjiang, such as forced sterilization and birth control, exhibit that Uyghurs face such measures at a disproportionately high rate compared to their Han Chinese counterparts, and that such a trend “should give the global community major cause for concern.”

For the link to the original report by Zenz on forced sterilization, click here.