A research report on Xinjiang's population related issues hyped by foreign forces

Source: Xinjiang Development Research Center Published: 2020/9/3 21:20:50

A little girl dances with music at the grand bazaar in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, July 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Ding Lei)

Recently, German anti-China scholar Adrian Zenz published a so-called "research report" titled "Sterilizations, IUDs and Mandatory Birth Control: The Chinese Communist Party's Campaign to suppress Uyghur's Birthrates in Xinjiang", citing biased data and ill-intended cases claiming that "Xinjiang's natural population growth has declined dramatically" and "Xinjiang has forceful sterilization problems". His findings are not derived from academic research methodologies and run against the realities in Xinjiang. The truth is Xinjiang's Uygur population has been increasing. During the law-based implementation of the family planning policy, all rights of ethnic minorities including those of Uygurs have been protected.

Ⅰ.Xinjiang's population has continued to grow in recent years. Among them, the increase and birth rate of Uygur population have been higher than Xinjiang's average level. The so-called "genocide" has no basis whatsoever.

The data from 2010 to 2018 shows Xinjiang's total population, ethnic minorities population, Uygur population increased steadily, whereas Han population registered just a meager increase. During the same period, Xinjiang's permanent residents increased by 3.0518 million (13.99%) to 24.8676 million from 21.8158 million. Among that, ethnic minorities population increased by 2.8749 million (22.14%) to 15.8608 million from 12.9859 million; Uygur population was up 2.5469 million (25.04%) to 12.7184 million from 10.1715 million; Han population rose by 0.1769 million (2%) to 9.0068 million from 8.8299 million. Uygur's population growth rate was not only higher than Xinjiang's population growth rate, but also higher than that of ethnic minorities and a lot more higher than Han's.

From 2010 to 2018, the birth rate and natural growth rate of Xinjiang's population were stable with a slight decline. During this period birth rates for Xinjiang's permanent residents were 14.85‰、14.99‰、15.32‰、 15.84‰、16.44‰、15.60‰、15.34‰、15.88‰、10.69‰ respectively; natural growth rates were 10.71‰、 10.57‰、10.84‰、10.92‰、11.47‰、11.06‰、11.08‰、11.40‰、6.13‰ respectively. Before 2017, Xinjiang's population birth rate was around 15‰, natural growth rate around 11‰. Although there was a decline in Xinjiang's population birth rate and natural growth rate in 2018, compared to the national level, its birth rate(10.69‰)was almost the same with that of the national level (10.94‰), and natural growth rate (6.13‰) was higher than national level(3.81‰). Among them, Uygur's birth rate (11.9‰) was higher than Xinjiang's overall population birth rate (10.69‰), and higher than Han's birth rate (9.42‰). Growth and birth rate for Xinjiang's Uygur population was higher than that of Xinjiang's overall and Han population, therefore the so-called "racial cleansing" is simply nonsense.

Ⅱ.The decline of Xinjiang's population growth in 2018 is the result of full implementation of the family planning policy, which also reflects Xinjiang's economic and social development and the changing attitude towards childbearing among all ethnic groups.

Before 2017, the family planning policy was not implemented adequately in the region's southern prefectures such as Kashgar and Hotan, which resulted in more newborns than the policy allowed. In recent years, during Xinjiang's poverty alleviation campaign, home visit and information soliciting have identified and registered a large number of children born out of the policy, accounting for 20% of the newborns registered in that year, echoing the estimations of health and statistics authorities.

Xinjiang's birth rate and natural growth rate were down to 10.69‰ and 6.13‰ in 2018 from 15.88‰ and 11.40‰ in 2017 respectively. The number of newborns in 2018 was 120,000 fewer than that of 2017. According to the estimates of health and statistics authorities, around 80,000 fewer people were born, thanks to the measures taken to address out-of-policy births. Meanwhile, as poverty alleviation campaign advances, living and production conditions have improved significantly in southern Xinjiang; urbanization has accelerated and more people live in urban areas; people's education and cultural level has also improved a lot, and their attitude towards childbearing has changed, with more people favoring delayed marriage and fewer and better births.

Ⅲ.Family planning is a basic state policy of China. The implementation of family planning in Xinjiang has promoted the long-term, balanced development of its population. The current population growth patterns conform to the objective law of economic and social development.

The implementation of family planning in Xinjiang along the whole country is not only the implementation of the basic national policy, but also the objective need to realize the coordinated and sustainable development of population, economic, social and environmental resources. Xinjiang is an arid region with severe desertification problems. An average of 48,300 m3 water is produced per square kilometer in Xinjiang, which is only 16.7% of national level (29000 m3/ km2). Our of the region's 1.6649 million km2 territory, oasis accounts for only 0.1711 million km2. In southern part of Xinjiang, due to rapid increase of population, farming land has become a scarce resource. In 2018, per capita farming land in the four southern prefectures was 2.32 mu (1,547m²), which is only 67.78% of world's average (3.42 mu equals 2,280m²). For some time in the past, being disrupted by "three evil forces", family planning policy couldn't be fully implemented in the southern prefectures like Kashgar and Hotan; plus, many were born outside of state policy and marriage, which led to a rapid population rise in Xinjiang, causing inappropriate allocation of limited natural resources and huge burden to households. In order to resolve the problems of water, farming land allocation, let people of Xinjiang lead a better life, Xinjiang need to implement family planning policy to foster a long-term and balanced development of population, and to promote sound development of society and economy.

After implementing the family planning policy in Xinjiang, the pressure due to rapid rise of population was alleviated, and health conditions of people from various ethnic groups, particularly women and children, have improved. Xinjiang's maternal mortality rate was down from 43.41per 100,000 in 2010 to 26.65 per 100,000 in 2018; infant mortality declined from 26.58‰ to 14.02‰. Xinjiang's average life expectancy was 74.82 years in 2015.

The trend of world population development shows that the higher the level of economic and social development, the stronger people's concept of self-worth and eugenics, and the Fertility Rate and the natural growth rate of population will decline. With the continuous development of Xinjiang's economy and society, the living conditions of people of all ethnic groups such as travel, residence, education, medical treatment and employment have undergone fundamental changes, which has promoted the steady improvement of population quality. The birth rate, death rate and natural population growth rate in Xinjiang have dropped from 22.55‰, 7.69‰ and 14.86‰ in 1978 to 10.69‰, 4.56‰ and 6.13‰ in 2018, respectively. Xinjiang's population development has entered a modern population growth type featuring "low birth, low death and low growth."

Ⅳ.Xinjiang implements the family planning policy according to law, and people independently choose safe, effective and appropriate birth control measures. There has been no such a problem of "mandatory sterilization" in the region.

China's family planning policy was rolled out from eastern and central regions to border areas, from urban areas to villages, form Han to ethnic minorities, giving ethnic minorities differentiated yet loose policies as opposed to that on Han couples. As a part of China, Xinjiang abides by the family planning policy according to law. China hasn't formulated and implemented no family planning policies for a single ethnic group.

From 1975, the family planning policy was implemented first in predominantly Han-populated cities like Urumqi. "Provisional Regulations on Several Issues of the Family Planning Policy" was published in 1981, starting the policy on Han ethnic group. "Measures for the Implementation of Family Planning of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region" was published in 1992, giving ethnic minorities more loose policies than Han, according to which urban Han couples could have one child and rural Han couples could have two; urban ethnic minorities can have two children and in those in rural areas can have three. In 2017, Xinjiang revised its population and family planning regulations, granting the same policy to all ethnic groups: urban couples can have two children, rural couples can have three. As can be seen, the family planning policy was implemented towards ethnic minorities 17 years later than Hans, and still with more easiness compared to China's other provinces.

In recent years, Xinjiang has taken measures in accordance with law to implement family planning policy by promoting management, scaling up policy publicity and advocacy, and providing quality service and so on, which led to remarkable results. People make independent choices on safe, effective, and proper contraception practices. Women of childbearing age voluntarily take tubal ligation and IUDs, especially most of those who have completed their childbearing but not taken birth control measures since 2014. Some areas like Hotan Prefecture have applied the principal that combines voluntary participation with technical guidance, encouraging people to choose long effective contraceptives that are suitable for themselves. For a period of time, there was a spike in tubal ligation and IUDs cases out of people's voluntary choice. Practice has proven that, among all kinds of contraceptives, tubal ligation and IUDs are internationally recognized safe enduring ways with few side effects but high effectiveness. And such contraceptives have been widely used in other areas in China and are also accepted willingly by childbearing women in Xinjiang.

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