China policies could cut millions of Uyghur births in Xinjiang
According to a new estimate by a German researcher, Chinese birth control programmes may decrease between 2.6 and 4.5 million births of Uighur and other ethnic minorities in southern Xinjiang within 20 years, accounting for up to a third of the region's projected minority population. The report also includes a previously unreported cache of research produced by Chinese academics and officials on Beijing's intent behind the birth control policies in Xinjiang, where official data shows birth rates have already dropped by 48.7% between 2017 and 2019, according to the report, which was shared exclusively with Reuters ahead of publication. Mr. Adrian Zenz's research comes as several western countries urge for an investigation into whether China's activities in Xinjiang constitute to genocide, an accusation Beijing flatly denies. Mr Zenz's study is the first peer-reviewed study of the long-term demographic effects of Beijing's multi-year crackdown in western China. The policies, according to rights groups, researchers, and some residents, include newly enforced birth limits on Uighurs and other mainly Muslim ethnic minorities, worker transfers to other regions, and the internment of an estimated one million Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in a network of camps. Mr Zenz told Reuters, "This (research and analysis) definitely demonstrates the objective behind the Chinese government's long-term plan for the Uighur community." The Chinese government has not set any formal targets for the reduction of Uighur and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. Mr Zenz thinks that Beijing's measures might expand the majority Han Chinese population in southern Xinjiang to roughly 25 percent, based on a study of official birth data, demographic predictions, and ethnic ratios provided by Chinese academics and officials. Mr Zenz stated, "This aim can only be achieved if they continue to do what they've been doing, which is substantially decreasing (Uighur) birth rates." China has previously said that the present reduction in ethnic minority birth rates is attributable to the region's existing birth limits being fully implemented, as well as development factors such as increased per capita income and more access to family planning services.