"The Chinese government is taking draconian measures to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other minorities as part of a sweeping campaign to curb its Muslim population," The Associated Press reports, citing government statistics and documents and interviews with 30 people subject to "what some experts are calling a form of 'demographic genocide.' The state regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices, sterilization, and even abortion on hundreds of thousands, the interviews and data show."
China's foreign ministry called AP's report "fake news" and claimed "everyone, regardless of whether they're an ethnic minority or Han Chinese, must follow and act in accordance with the law." And there is some truth to that: Since 2014, President Xi Jinping has allowed Han Chinese to have up to two children, or three if they live in the countryside, the same rules applied to Uighurs and other minorities since the 1990s. "But while equal on paper, in practice Han Chinese are largely spared the abortions, sterilizations, IUD insertions, and detentions for having too many children that are forced on Xinjiang's other ethnicities," AP reports.
Fines for having more than three children were tripled in Xinjiang in 2017, to at least three times the annual disposable income of the county, but only minorities are sent to "re-education" concentration camps if they don't pay, their children sent to orphanages, AP says. Han Chinese in the area are offered subsidies to move to Xinjiang and then have more children or intermarry with Uighurs.
"The intention may not be to fully eliminate the Uighur population, but it will sharply diminish their vitality," Darren Byler, an expert on Uighurs at the University of Colorado, tells AP. "It will make them easier to assimilate into the mainstream Chinese population." Joanne Smith Finley at Britain's Newcastle University calls it "genocide, full stop," albeit "slow, painful, creeping genocide." Read more about the campaign at The Associated Press.