Sterilizations, IUDs, and Mandatory Birth Control: The CCP’s Campaign to Suppress Uyghur Birthrates in Xinjiang


Intrauterine contraceptive devices, sterilizations, and forced family separations: since a sweeping crackdown starting in late 2016 transformed Xinjiang into a draconian police state, witness accounts of intrusive state interference into reproductive autonomy have become ubiquitous. While state control over reproduction has long been a common part of the birth control regime in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the situation in Xinjiang has become especially severe following a policy of mass internment initiated in early 2017 (China Brief, September 21, 2017) by officials of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). After her release from internment, Zumrat Dawut, a Uyghur woman from Urumqi, paid a fine for having had three instead of two children, and was offered free surgical sterilization (Washington Post, November 17, 2019). Threatened with internment if she refused, Dawut submitted to the procedure. Mihrigul Tursun, a Uyghur mother of triplets, said that during detention she and other women were given unknown drugs and injections that caused irregular bleeding and a loss of menstruation cycles (Associated Press, November 26, 2018). U.S. doctors later determined that she had been sterilized (Nikkei Asian Review, August 10, 2019). Rakhima Senbay, a mother of four, was forcibly fitted with an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD) in what was said to be a routine mandatory procedure prior to her internment (Washington Post, October 5, 2019).

How systematic are such incidents? Do they reflect government policies? What is their impact on minority population growth?

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