A Chinese paramilatary police patrol passes a Muslim ethnic Uighur woman and a child on a street in Urumqi, capital of China's Xinjiang region. Photograph:( AFP )
They used data to compare the time period before, during, and after the Chinese government implemented its campaign against 'illegal births' in 2017
Adding to concerns about the inhumane treatment of the Uighur community in Xinjiang, new research has claimed that birth rates have fallen in the Chinese region by almost half in the past two years.
The figures have seen a decline in the birth rates after the Chinese government implemented policies to reduce the number of babies born in the Uighur and other Muslim minority communities in the area.
This research was conducted by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and claims the decline in numbers is more extreme than any seen in any global region in the past 71 years of UN fertility data collection, which also includes periods of genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia.
Through this research, the issue of women of the Xinjiang region being forced to take birth control measures by the Chinese government has hit the surface again.
Nathan Ruser and James Leibold, the authors of this report, used publicly available data by the Chinese government. They created a dataset of birthrates from 2011 to 2019 and then compared birthrates of different counties with those of the Uighur and other Muslim communities.
They used data to compare the time period before, during, and after the Chinese government implemented their campaign against "illegal births" in 2017.
As per the data, the birthrate in the Xinjiang community fell by 48.7 between 2017 and 2019. The birthrate dropped by at least 90 per cent in regions where the population was majorly non-Han Chinese.
"Previous research by both Chinese and foreign experts has examined the tightening of birth control policy in Xinjiang and a corresponding drop in natural population growth beginning in 2015, but even more dramatically after 2017," the report said.
In April, the Human Rights Watch had concluded through a report that the Chinese government was committing crimes against humanity by ill-treating the minority communities and forcing women to take unsafe birth control measures to control the population boom from these groups. However, the group had also said that this alarming conclusion can be completely believed only after a little more investigation.
This report has identified this as "an increasingly urgent problem and source of perceived instability, literally a breeding ground for the ‘three evil forces' of extremism, terrorism and splitism".
Researchers have also stressed that these inhumane practises are mainly aimed at the Uighur and Xinjiang communities, rather than all minority groups. "One thing we found is that in other provinces of similarly high minority populations … the birthrate climbed by about 3% in the last decade," Ruser said. "So these policies seem to be very deliberately targeted towards the community of Xinjiang and the Uighur community. When they talk about those general minority figures, I think you have to keep in mind there are 55 other minorities."