Xinjiang has seen the sharpest birthrate drop in recent history, according to the Australian Strategy Policy Institute.
“The sharp drop in birth-rates in Xinjiang (a region with a population of nearly 25 million) is proportionally the most extreme over a two-year period globally since 1950,” a report from the think tank concluded.
The report says that China’s overall crackdown on how many children a family can have, especially among minorities, is what contributed to the dramatic drop in birth rates.
Family rules have loosened for Han women, but birth rates among minorities have been decreasing significantly, driven by threats of imprisonment and fines for illegal births among minority populations such as Uyghur Muslims.
“Across counties that are majority-indigenous the birth-rate fell, on average, by 43.7 percent in a single year between 2017 and 2018. The birth-rate in counties with a 90 percent or greater indigenous population declined by 56.5 percent, on average, in that same year,” the report says.
Along with imposing jail time and fines, China has sterilized and forced abortions on women who have too many children.
“Despite notable contextual differences, this decline in birth-rate is more than double the rate of decline in Cambodia at the height of the Khmer Rouge genocide (1975-79),” according to the report.
China’s one-child policy led to many baby girls being killed or abandoned and has caused millions more men to be in the country than women.