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China's policies could cut up to 4.5 million births in Xinjiang: research

China's policies could cut up to 4.5 million births in Xinjiang: research
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Birth control policies enforced by China could cut up to 4.5 million births in Uyghur-dominated southern Xinjiang within 20 years, according to new analysis by German researcher Adrian Zenz.

Zenz's report, which was obtained by Reuters prior to publication, found that the population of ethnic minorities in the territory would be between 8.6 million and 10.5 million by 2040 with the new birth control policies in place, according to Reuters.

For comparison, Chinese researchers, using data from before the birth policies were implemented, projected a population of 13.14 million, according to Reuters.

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Zenz, who conducted the peer-reviewed analysis, told Reuters that his work “really shows the intent behind the Chinese government’s long-term plan for the Uyghur population.”

Zenz also predicts that Beijing’s policies could increase the dominant Han Chinese population in southern Xinjiang by approximately 25 percent from its current 8.4 percent, based on an analysis of official birth data, demographic projections and ethnic ratios put forth by Chinese academics and officials, according to Reuters.

Last year, an investigation conducted by The Associated Press determined that the Chinese government has imposed forced birth control on the Uyghurs to a far greater degree than previously known, with some experts saying the policy constitutes a form of “demographic genocide.”

Officials in the Chinese government, however, have rejected that notion. According to Reuters, Beijing has previously said the decrease of ethnic minority birth rates is a result of the region’s existing birth quotas being implemented in addition to development factors, including an increase in per capita income and increased access to family planning services.

“The so-called ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang is pure nonsense,” China’s foreign ministry told Reuters in a statement. 

“It is a manifestation of the ulterior motives of anti-China forces in the United States and the West and the manifestation of those who suffer from Sinophobia,” it added.

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The new report also highlighted previously unreported research from Chinese academics and officials that found that birth rates in Xinjiang have dropped by 48.7 percent between 2017 and 2019.

The ministry said the data showing that drop in birth rates “does not reflect the true situation” and Uyghur birth rates are still higher than Han ethnic people in Xinjiang.

China’s foreign ministry has targeted Zenz in the past, accusing him of “misleading” people with data. The ministry told Reuters “his lies aren’t worth refuting.” 

The Central Asian Survey, a quarterly academic journal, accepted Zenz's research for publication earlier this month after it was peer reviewed, according to the news service.