Trump Stands in the Way of a Global Response to China’s Abuses in Xinjiang

Trump Stands in the Way of a Global Response to China’s Abuses in Xinjiang
People line up at the Artux City Vocational Skills Education Training Service Center in Artux in western China’s Xinjiang region, Dec. 3, 2018 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.

Amid all the focus this week on Hong Kong, where Beijing’s plan to clamp down on political dissent came to fruition when controversial national security legislation went into effect Tuesday night, there were more troubling developments about China’s actions toward its Muslim minorities. The Associated Press reported that the Chinese government is carrying out a “systematic” campaign to slash birth rates among Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, a discovery that some experts called a form of “demographic genocide.” While politicians around the globe expressed their outrage at the revelations, there is a major stumbling block to a punitive global response to China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang: U.S. President Donald Trump.

The government in Xinjiang “regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices, sterilization and even abortion on hundreds of thousands,” according to new research by China scholar Adrian Zenz that was obtained in advance of publication by the Associated Press. As Beijing has imposed these draconian measures against Xinjiang’s Muslim population, it has encouraged the country’s Han majority to have more children. The research found that “the population control measures are backed by mass detention both as a threat and as a punishment for failure to comply,” linking the campaign to the internment camps in the region that are believed to hold at least a million ethnic minorities. Although individual women have spoken out before about forced birth control in Xinjiang, the new report reveals a “far more widespread and systematic” effort than was previously known.

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