Authorities in Xinjiang, China who strictly imposed the government’s birth control system on Uyghurs have forced hospitals to abort and kill babies born in excess of the family planning limits or who were in utero less than three years after the mother’s previous birth.
Hospitals in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) implemented family-planning policies that restrict Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities to three children in rural areas and two in urban centres, Hasiyet Abdulla, an Uyghur obstetrician and other sources revealed.
Women in XUAR are also required to space out pregnancies by at least three years. Newborns conceived inside the three year after the last birth have been killed after being carried to full term, Abdulla said.
Abdulla, who currently lives in Turkey, worked in multiple hospitals in Xinjiang over the course of 15 years, including the XUAR Hospital of Traditional Uyghur Medicine.
According to Abdulla, every hospital in the region has a family-planning unit where employees keep detailed archival records on all pregnancies. They oversee abortions in cases where women have not allowed the proper time gap between pregnancies and also supervise the implantation of intrauterine devices (IUDs) following pregnancies, she said.
Abdulla’s claims follow a June 29 report about a dramatic increase in recent years in the number of forced sterilizations and abortions targeting Uyghurs in the region, which the author, German researcher Adrian Zenz, said may amount to a government-led campaign of genocide under United Nations definitions.
China did not make a spokesperson available for comment on this report, but when Zenz’s study on forced birth control came out in June, official media vilified him and said Beijing is ‘considering suing’ him for libel, while the foreign ministry denounced him.
“Every hospital had a family-planning unit that was responsible for implementation—who had how many kids, when they’d given birth to them—they tracked all of this,” Abdullasaid.
“The regulations were so strict: there had to be three or four years between children. There were babies born at nine months who we killed after inducing labour. They did that in the maternity wards, because those were the orders.”
Abdulla told RFA that hospital family-planning units carried out the operations, including for women who were “eight and nine months pregnant,” adding that in some cases, medical staff would “even kill the babies after they’d been born.”
For babies who had been born at the hospital outside of family-planning limits, she said, “they would kill them and dispose of the body.”
“They wouldn’t give the baby to the parents—they kill the babies when they’re born,” she said.
“It’s an order that’s been given from above, it’s an order that’s been printed and distributed in official documents. Hospitals get fined if they don’t comply, so of course they carry this out.”
In his report, Zenz, a senior fellow in China Studies at the Washington-based Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, documented population control measures in the XUAR that include fines on Uyghur women with three or more children, mandatory pregnancy tests and examinations, and the forced implantation of IUDs or sterilization surgery.
The uptick in forced population control policies, which the report said had led to an 84% birthrate reduction in two majority Uyghur prefectures between 2015 and 2018, occurred in tandem with China’s campaign of mass incarceration of Uyghurs launched in the region in April 2017.
Women who refuse to undergo the procedures are detained in a network of internment camps, believed to have held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. (Source: RFA)