Sterilizations, IUDs, and Mandatory Birth Control: The CCP’s Campaign to Suppress Uyghur Birthrates in Xinjiang

Natural population growth in Xinjiang has declined dramatically; growth rates fell by 84 percent in the two
largest Uyghur prefectures between 2015 and 2018, and declined further in several minority regions in
2019. For 2020, one Uyghur region set an unprecedented near-zero birth rate target: a mere 1.05 per
mille, compared to 19.66 per mille in 2018. This was intended to be achieved through “family planning
• Government documents bluntly mandate that birth control violations are punishable by extrajudicial
internment in “training” camps. This confirms evidence from the leaked “Karakax List” document, wherein
such violations were the most common reason for internment (Journal of Political Risk, February 2020).
• Documents from 2019 reveal plans for a campaign of mass female sterilization in rural Uyghur regions,
targeting 14 and 34 percent of all married women of childbearing age in two Uyghur counties that year.
This project targeted all of southern Xinjiang, and continued in 2020 with increased funding. This
campaign likely aims to sterilize rural minority women with three or more children, as well as some with
two children—equivalent to at least 20 percent of all childbearing-age women. Budget figures indicate
that this project had sufficient funding for performing hundreds of thousands of tubal ligation sterilization
procedures in 2019 and 2020, with least one region receiving additional central government funding. In
2018, a Uyghur prefecture openly set a goal of leading its rural populations to accept widespread
sterilization surgery.


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