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The Truth about Population Development in Xinjiang:A Response to Adrian Zenz’s Xinjiang Report of ‘Genocide’
March 23,2021   By:en.humanrights.cn
March 23,2021 -- In June 2020, Jamestown Foundation published a research report written by Adrian Zenz, a ‘leading expert’ from German on Xinjiang issue, and titled “Sterilizations, IUDs, and mandatory birth control: The CCP’s campaign to suppress Uyghur rates in Xinjiang”. Zenz states that Chinese government has implemented the policies of ‘genocide’ and ‘compulsory birth control’ to the Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. However, through some thorough investigations, the claims made by Zenz have been confirmed as outright lies. In addition, Zenz and his employer The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, an extreme right-wing organization, have concocted many ‘scholarly accounts’ full of political bias and lies.
Zenz’s statements are totally inconsistent with the realities of Xinjiang’s population changes in the past decade. According to China’s official statistics, from 2010 to 2018, Xinjiang’s total population, ethnic minority population, and the Uyghur population have all grown continuously and steadily, while Xinjiang's Han population has slightly increased. During this period, the number of permanent resident population in Xinjiang rose from 21,815,800 to 24,867,600, an increase of 3,051,800 people or 13.99 percent; the number of ethnic minority population rose from 12,985,900 to 15,860,800, an increase of 2,546,900 people or 22.14 percent; the number of the Uyghur population rose 10,171,500 to 12,718,400, an increase of 2,546,900 people or 25.04 percent; the Han population rose 8,829,900 to 9,006,800, an increase of 176,900 people or 2.0 percent. The data above reflects that the growth rate of the Uyghur population is not only higher than that of total population and ethnic minority population in Xinjiang, but also significantly higher than the growth rate of the Han population.
Zen claimed that all the data in his report was quoted from China’s official documents and statistical yearbook, yet in fact, the report was glutted with lies made by fabricating facts and falsifying data. Now, six major lies in Zenz’s reports will be listed and refuted.
Lie 1: The natural population growth rate in Xinjiang has sharply decreased.
Zenz asserted in his report that “natural population growth in Xinjiang has declined dramatically … between 2015 and 2018”, and the natural population growth rate of Hotan and Kashgar was merely 2.58‰ in 2018. Thus, the Chinese government was maliciously ‘suppressing’ Xinjiang’s Uygur population.
However, Xinjiang Statistical Yearbook 2019 shows that in 2018, the actual natural population growth rate in Kashgar was 6.93‰, and the actual natural population growth rate in Hotan was 2.96‰. The natural population growth rate in Xinjiang did drop slightly during the period, but it was not a ‘sharp’ decline as Zenz described. In 2018, Xinjiang’s natural population growth rate was 6.13‰, which was higher than the national natural population growth rate of 3.81‰. The decline was also by no means a result of so-called ‘genocide’ policy, but more due to the decreasing fertility willingness of ethnic minority women.
Lie 2: Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture has set an unprecedented near-zero population growth target for 2020 — a mere 1.05 per mille.
Zenz cited the data from a document called “Departmental Budget of Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture Health Commission 2020”. He uses this as a further proof that China is implementing compulsory birth control policy against Xinjiang minorities.
In fact, the data was completely fake. The original document clearly shows that the goal of the natural population growth rate in 2020 is 1.05 percent, that is 10.5‰, which is not much different from Kizilsu’s natural population growth rate of 11.45% in 2018.
Lie 3: Those ethnic minority women who violated Xinjiang’s family planning policies would be imprisoned to the vocational education and training center.
Zenz listed many official documents and claimed that Xinjiang’s government documents stipulated any women who violated the population policy would be sent to the vocational education and training center.
However, after going through all the documents that Zenz has listed, we found that no such claims was made. In fact, all these documents emphasized the implementation of family planning policy must be in compliance with laws and regulations.
Lie 4: In 2018, at least 80 percent of the new surgeries of IUD placements in China were preformed in Xinjiang.
Another sensational claim made by Zenz was that at least 80 percent of the new surgeries of IUD placements in China was performed in Xinjiang in 2018, which is yet another proof that Xinjiang government is carrying out large scale family planning policy.
However, according to the official data published by the National Health Commission, in 2018, the new surgeries of IUD placement nationwide was 3,774,318 and for Xinjiang it was 328,475 (including Xinjiang's Han women). Thus the new surgeries in Xinjiang only accounted for 8.7 percent of the national total. The 80-percent claim is another outright lie.
Lie 5: The Chinese government has performed compulsory birth control operations on Uygur women who only have one child, and the shares of women aged 18 to 49 who were either widowed or in menopause have more than doubled since the onset of the internment campaign in Kuqa County.
Zenz presented a form documenting the situation of IUD checking for women by quarter in one district, Payzawat Country, saying that the government made too frequent inspections, and then made a bold claim that Chinese government even took compulsory birth control measures on Uygur women with only one child.
However, the sources of the form Zenz provided were unknown and unidentified. He merely stated the conclusion yet did not offer evidences to support it. Thus, this assertion is not the fact but a product of his own extrapolation. In 2017, Xinjiang revised its population and family planning regulations, applying a uniform and equal policy to all ethnic groups, whereby urban couples can have two children and rural couples can have three.
The family planning technical services in Xinjiang follow the principles of state guidance and individual voluntarism, stipulating that all the women, including the Uyghur women and other ethnic minority women have the right to be informed of freely choosing contraceptive methods. Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) has clearly verified the safety of IUDs. In its website, IUDs are identified as “a safe and effective method of long-term reversible contraception and the most widely used reversible method of contraception in the world today, used by an estimated 100 million women”.
Lie 6: More dramatic is the difference between the Uyghur-dominated countryside and Han majority suburbs in Hotan City, and thus, “Beijing is doubling down on a policy of Han settler colonialism”.
Zenz used an example to prove his assertion that Han population in Gulbagh Residential District in Hotan City boosted a natural population growth rate of 15.17 percent (equivalent to 151.7‰), which was nearly eight times higher than that of Hotan County — that rate of the latter was 2.22‰.
In fact, according to the data provided by Hotan’s government, in 2018, the natural population growth rate of the Han population in Gulbagh Residential District was 1.2‰, and the natural population growth rate of Hotan County was 5.29‰. It is easily calculated that the natural population growth rate of Hotan County was 4.4 times higher than that of Gulbagh Residential District. This fact contradicts Zenz’s conclusion. It also must be pointed out that, Xinjiang has been a multi-ethnic and multicultural region since ancient times, and all ethnic groups have made important contributions to the development, construction, and defense of Xinjiang, and they are all masters of this region. There is no question of who colonizes whom.
To sum up, based on some ideological prejudices and deliberate purposes, some western politicians and scholars have concocted lots of absurd lies to maliciously slandered China’s population policies. Once the truth comes closer, the lie will run away. The ethnic equality policies promoted by Chinese government will definitely lead the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang towards a more prosperous and stable future.
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