China says think tank report on Uyghur birth rates decline 'fabricates data'

WION Web Team
Beijing, China Published: May 13, 2021, 04:41 PM(IST)

Representative image Photograph:( Agencies )

Story highlights

Xinjiang's birth rate dropped by nearly half from 2017 to 2019, and counties where the population was predominately Uyghur or another minority group saw much sharper declines than other counties, the government-funded institute said in the report

China's foreign ministry on Thursday said a report by an Australian think tank citing coercive policies attributing to a sharp decline in Uyghur birth rates aims to "fabricate data and distort the facts".

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report, citing official Chinese data, said in a report released on Wednesday that there has been an "unprecedented and precipitous drop in official birth rates in Xinjiang since 2017," when China began a campaign to control birth rates in the region.

Xinjiang's birth rate dropped by nearly half from 2017 to 2019, and counties where the population was predominately of Uyghur or another minority group saw much sharper declines than other counties, the government-funded institute said in the report.

ASPI "fabricates data and distorts facts," Hua Chunying, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman, told a daily news briefing in Beijing on Thursday. Xinjiang's Uyghur population grew faster than that of the Han between 2010 and 2018, and Xinjiang's birth control policies do not target any single ethnic minority group, she said.

Western states and rights groups accuse Xinjiang authorities of detaining and torturing Uyghurs and other minorities in camps. Beijing denies the accusations and describes the camps as vocational training facilities to combat religious extremism.

The United States, Germany and Britain clashed with China at the United Nations on Wednesday over the treatment of Uyghurs, angering Beijing by hosting a virtual event that China had lobbied UN member states to stay away from.

In a note to UN member states last week, China's UN mission rejected the accusations as "lies and false allegations" and accused the organizers of being "obsessed with provoking confrontation with China."

(With inputs from agencies)

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