Chinese authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are preparing local residents for visits from outside “inspectors” by ordering them to disavow any knowledge of “family planning” policies.
This comes after the publication of a report in June detailing a dramatic increase in recent years in the number of forced sterilisations and abortions targeting Uyghurs in the region.
Adrian Zenz, a senior fellow in China Studies at the Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, published the report on sterilisations and abortions in collaboration with the Associated Press.
In his report, Zenz concludes such policies may amount to a government-led campaign of genocide according to the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Information from an anonymous source said authorities in XUAR have been holding meetings over the past two weeks to warn residents that people may be visiting the area to inquire about birth control policies.
According to the source, police personnel are warning residents in the meetings that they risk fines and even detention in an internment camp for giving “incorrect” responses to the visiting inspectors, who may include both Chinese nationals and foreigners.
RFA recently spoke with an officer from the Suydung Township Police Station who confirmed that a colleague was in charge of the preparatory work related to the inspections, and that predominantly Uyghur “assistant police officers are undertaking this work in the villages.”
When asked what residents are being instructed to say to inspectors, the officer said he did not know and referred further questions to those in charge of the meetings.
RFA also spoke with a neighbourhood committee chief in Suydung Township who provided more information about the meetings, which he said he regularly takes part in.
“The meetings are being held in residents’ homes, one after the other—between 15 and 35 people attend each meeting,” he said.
“They’re teaching people that if inspectors come, [the residents]should answer questions very conscientiously and not say things like ‘we don’t know.’”
“They said that we should say the birth control policy is good, but that we shouldn’t give really detailed answers,” he said.
“They said to say ‘no’ if asked whether [residents]had IUDs (intrauterine devices) inserted.”
Instead, residents should “talk at length” about topics such as free health checks, home construction, and social security.
“They told us we can take up all [the inspector’s]time to talk with us if we talk more about the subsidies we’ve received from them,” he said.
The committee chief said if asked about detained family members, residents shouldn’t say they don’t know why they were interned or where they are.
“They said we should say the government would never have detained them if they hadn’t done something wrong, so they detained them because they made mistakes,” he said.
“We should say they’re getting a good education, that it’s good they’re being educated, and that they had religious extremist ideas.” (Source: RFA)