Uyghur women Photograph:( AFP )
The Xinjiang government sent CNN a six-page fax in response to questions for an article published in July that documented a campaign of abuse and control by Beijing targetting women from the Uyghur minority
Chinese officials have finally acknowledged that birth rates in Xinjiang dropped by almost a third in 2018, compared to the previous year.
According to a CNN report, they also denied reports of forced sterilisation and genocide by authorities in the far western region.
The Xinjiang government sent CNN a six-page fax in response to questions for an article published in July that documented a campaign of abuse and control by Beijing targetting women from the Uyghur minority, a Muslim ethnic group numbering more than 10 million people.
China has often been accused of widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Up to 2 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are believed to have been placed in mass detention centres in the region, according to the US State Department.
These people have allegedly been subject to indoctrination and abuse.
Beijing, however, claims that these centres are voluntary and provide vocational training as part of a de-radicalisation programme in Xinjiang.
But CNN had said that some Uyghur women were being forced to use birth control and undergo sterilisation as part of a deliberate attempt to push down birth rates among minorities in Xinjiang.
In its response, the Xinjiang government strongly denied the claims of genocide, arguing instead that the Uyghur population has been "growing continuously" during the past decade and that Zenz's report was not "in line with the real situation in Xinjiang."
The Xinjiang government said in its response that the birth rate in the region had dropped from 15.88 per 1,000 people in 2017 to 10.69 per 1,000 people in 2018 -- due to "the comprehensive implementation of the family planning policy."
The Xinjiang government attributed the sudden drop in population to Beijing's family planning policies finally being properly implemented in the region after 2017.