Accused of forced sterilisation, China boasts of 'liberating baby-machine Uighur women'

Accused of forced sterilisation, China boasts of 'liberating baby-machine Uighur women'
3 min read
08 January, 2021
Beijing has touted its 'liberation' of Uighur women amid reports of widespread forced birth control and sterilisation.
China has been accused of forcibly implanting contraceptives and sterilising Uighur women [Getty]
China's embassy in the United States courted outrage on Thursday after bragging its "anti-extremism" measures in Xinjiang had "liberated" Uighur women from a future as "baby-making machines".

The claims of low birth rates as proof of women's emancipation fly in the face of allegations that Beijing has forcibly sterilised Uighur women in the Muslim-majority province.

"Study shows that in the process of eradicating extremism, the minds of Uygur women in Xinjiang were emancipated and gender equality and reproductive health were promoted, making them no longer baby-making machines. They are more confident and independent," the embassy's tweet read.

The Chinese government account accompanied the tweet with a link to an article on the Chinese Communist Party-owned website China Daily.

The article rejects allegations of forced sterilisation, instead claiming that Chinese anti-extremism measures have allowed the spread in Xinjiang of the state-backed family planning policy that allows couples to have two children in urban areas and three in rural zones.

Couples have been enabled to make family planning decisions through the new availability of "safe, effective and appropriate contraceptive measures" such as tubal ligation (sterilisation), the article claims.

Incensed social media users pointed to reports last year detailinga "widespread and systematic" campaign of forced contraceptive measures and sterilisation of Uighur and other Muslim minority women in Xinjiang.

Birth rates have dramatically plunged in the Uighur-majority northwestern province in recent years; experts have tied the drop to forced abortions, sterilisations, IUD insertions and detentions for having too many children reported by ex-detainees.

"Interesting way to brag about carrying out genocide," writer CJ Werlman responded to the embassy's tweet.

"China can't even hide its genocidal contempt for Uyghur Muslim women in dehumanising them as 'baby making machines'," said Werlman, who is a contributor to The New Arab.

Read more: 'Demographic genocide': China forces birth control on Uighurs to suppress Muslim population

Researcher Jasmin Mujanovic echoed those remarks, tweeting: "This is what genocide denial sounds like in real time."

"China just admitted to forcibly sterilising our women," Uighur activist Aydin Anwar said.

Journalist Owen Hughes chimed in: "If Twitter had existed in the 1940s it's the sort of thing Nazi Germany would have been tweeting."

Some users of the platform called on Twitter to mark the embassy's post with a note stating the claims are "disputed", as the social media giant has done with claims of electoral fraud in the US.

"Why does witter allow their platform to be used for this kind of propaganda? They are bragging about the Genocide of Muslims," wrote Canadian Senator Leo Housakos.

At least a million Muslims, most of them Uighurs, are thought to be held in China's vast network of internment camps. Beijing describes the camps as re-education centres designed to steer Muslims away from Islamist extremism and separatism.

China is also accused of subjecting them to forced labour and torture.

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