Report Reveals CCP Conducting Forced Abortions and Sterilizations of Uyghur Women

In recent weeks, Jamestown Foundation scholar and chronicler Dr. Adrian Zenz brought light to another human rights abuse taking place in the Xinjiang Province.[1] In addition to the already “breathtaking” atrocities committed by the Chinese government against the Uyghur people in northern China,[2] the Communist Chinese Party (CCP) has forcibly sterilized and taken other draconian measures to reduce the birthrates in Xinjiang. If true, this campaign would be considered a form of genocide according to the United Nations’ definition. [3]

Zenz’s report relays numerous astonishing statistics. For one, he calculates, based on information from public Chinese websites, that the population growth had declined by 90 percent between 2014 and 2019, and an attending unnatural decline in the overall population that is not “just the camps.”[4] The decline is felt also in Hotan and Kashgar, located in the “heart of the Southern Uyghur homeland.”[5] Despite the persistence of the one-child policy for 40 years in mainland China, the Uyghur’s population growth rate is lower than the national average.[6]

The decline is largely attributable to the horrific sterilization programs which the CCP aimed at Uyghur women. In Guma County (Pishan) and Hotan city, for instance, doctors performed sterilizations 143 times the national average, in a nation notorious for forced sterilizations of the general population. Prior to a “dramatic spike” of sterilizations in 2016 that has continued into the present, Uyghur birthrates were typically higher than the national average and sterilizations much lower.[7]

In Guma, sterilizations increased 148 times in 2019 alone.[8] The government’s family planning budget called for 8,064 sterilizations, nearly 6,000 IUD placements, and 157,301 IUD checks.[9] In the Hotan region, public documents indicate that the region had a “target” number of 14,872 female sterilizations.[10] Thus in a single year, Guma County scheduled 14.1 percent of all married women of childbearing age for sterilization and Hotan City scheduled an incredible 34.3 percent of young women. Based on the overall statistics for Xinjiang, Zenz estimates that only 3.0 percent of the women in the targeted range gave birth in 2019.[11]

As noted by Zenz, numerous Beijing officials and Chinese academics have tied the previously above average population growth rates of the Uyghur people to religion. “By limiting the ‘excessive population growth’ of the Uyghur people,” said Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences Director Li Xiaoxia, “the area could avoid becoming impoverished and capitulating to ‘religious extremism and splittism.’”[12] Some authors attribute the previously high birthrates to the religious refusal to abort babies, whereas other view the birthrate to be a part of strategic and destructive extremist religious thinking.[13]

Through forced sterilization and involuntary IUD placement, the Chinese government continues its brutal suppression of religious minorities in northern China. The evidence presented by Dr. Zenz shows that these are not merely, as an official of Qiemo County put it, “birth control measures with long-term effectiveness.”[14] Though the Uyghur population has already been greatly reduced by the ongoing efforts of the CCP confining Uyghurs in “reeducation” camps, the CCP also seeks to control and suppress religion by permanently preventing these Muslim women from having children in accordance with their religious beliefs. “Religion,” says one of Beijing’s main propaganda sources, the Xinjiang White Paper, “must not be used to interfere in… family planning policies.”



[2] Including “credible evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity meted out to millions,”


[3] Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Article II(d)












[9] Ibid.




[11] Ibid.




[13] Ibid.




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