By Rachael Wong
In a concerted campaign to control its Muslim population, an Associated Press investigation has revealed that the Chinese Government is forcing pregnancy tests, IUDs, abortions and sterilisations on hundreds of thousands of Uighur women and other ethnic minorities.
Women who fail to comply with the oppressive population-control measures are subject to fines, police raids and mass detention along with couples who have “too many children” (more than two), resulting in a “climate of terror” around having children.
One detainee was injected with pregnancy prevention shots until she stopped having her period, and kicked repeatedly in the lower stomach during interrogations. She now can’t have children and often doubles over in pain, bleeding from her womb. Reports of rapes in the detention camps have surfaced too.
The birth-control campaign mirrors China’s now-abandoned ‘one child policy’, under which the authorities had long imposed contraceptives, abortion and sterilisation on Hans Chinese. However, the specific targeting of minority populations has led experts to call the current campaign a “creeping” or “demographic” genocide.
“It links back to China’s long history of dabbling in eugenics…you don’t want people who are poorly educated, marginal minorities breeding quickly,” said James Leibold, a specialist in Chinese ethnic policy at La Trobe in Melbourne. “What you want is your educated Han to increase their birth rate.”
“It’s genocide, full stop. It’s not immediate, shocking, mass-killing on the spot type genocide, but it’s slow, painful, creeping genocide,” said Joanne Smith Finley, a lecturer from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. “These are direct means of genetically reducing the Uighur population.”
However, given the mass forced abortions of Uighur and other ethnic-minority children, one could say that while “creeping” in one sense, it is also very much an “on the spot type genocide”. And China’s atrocities being perpetrated against women under this campaign are crimes against humanity.
It is imperative that the international community responds strongly and immediately to these horrific human rights abuses being waged against women, children and Chinese ethnic minorities.
Rachael Wong is the CEO of Women's Forum Australia