According to the AP, authorities at the camps and in Xinjiang, the Uighur heartland also known as East Turkestan, have been cracking down on the birth rate by:
Regularly subjecting women to pregnancy tests.
Forcing those who test positive to have abortions.
Forcibly fitting women with intrauterine devices, or IUDs, to prevent pregnancy.
Force-feeding Uighur women birth-control pills or injecting them with fluids — without saying what they are — to make them sterile.
Reports of forced abortions and sterilization have surfaced in the past, but the AP investigation indicates that the forced birth control is much more widespread than previously thought. The AP said the measures affected “hundreds of thousands” of Uighur women.
The AP also found that a major reason Uighurs were sent to camps was being deemed to have too many children.
The government ordered one Chinese-born Kazakh woman to get an IUD inserted after her third child, the AP said. She was later told to pay a $2,685 fine for having more than two children.
The AP said it spoke with 15 Uighurs and Kazakhs who said they knew people who had been interned or jailed for having too many children.
Human-rights activists outside the Chinese Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands, on March 5.
Pierre Crom/Getty Images
Additionally, the AP said, citing several former detainees, that “women are subjected to forced IUDs and what appear to be pregnancy prevention shots.”
“Many felt dizzy, tired or ill, and women stopped getting their periods,” the AP reported. “After being released and leaving China, some went to get medical check-ups and found they were sterile.”
From 2016 to 2018, the number of sterilizations rose sevenfold in Xinjiang, the AP said.
The birth rate in Xinjiang has plummeted in recent years, largely as a result of the crackdown: It fell by nearly 24% in 2019, the AP said.
Protesters rally in support of the Uighur people in Hong Kong in December.
“The parents of three or more” are “ripped away from their families unless they can pay huge fines,” the AP said. “Police raid homes, terrifying parents as they search for hidden children.”
Last week, the spotlight on China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims intensified after John Bolton, the former US national security adviser, wrote in his new tell-all book that President Donald Trump said Chinese President Xi Jinping “should go ahead with building the camps,” adding that Trump thought it “was exactly the right thing to do.”
Shortly after reports about Bolton’s book were published, Trump signed a bill to sanction China over its oppression of Uighurs.