Beijing [China], September 22 (ANI): China has finally acknowledged a drop in birth rates in Xinjiang but has denied reports of forced sterilization and genocide in its far western region.
In its response to CNN, the Xinjiang government acknowledged the number of births in the region decreased drastically between 2017 and 2018. However, it claimed said that such procedures were not forced but voluntary and the Uyghur population has been "growing continuously."
The Xinjiang government was quoted as saying by CNN that "the birth rate in the region had dropped from 15.88 per 1,000 people in 2017 to 10.69 per 1,000 people in 2018." The local government attributed the decline to "the comprehensive implementation of the family planning policy."
"In 2018, the number of newborns decreased by approximately 120,000 compared with 2017, of which about 80,000 were because of better implementation of family planning policy in accordance with law, according to estimates by the health and statistics department," the response to Chinese officials read.
The admission assumes significance as the international community has repeatedly criticized China over its treatment of its people in the country, especially in Xinjiang and Tibet.
It has been rebuked globally for cracking down on Uyghur Muslims by sending them to mass detention camps, interfering in their religious activities and sending members of the community to undergo some form of forcible re-education or indoctrination.
Beijing, on the other hand, has vehemently denied that it is engaged in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang while reports from journalists, NGOs and former detainees have surfaced, highlighting the Chinese Communist Party's brutal crackdown on the ethnic community, according to report.
Genocide is a serious crime under international law and the US government has adopted the term on rare occasions only after extensive documentation. Some experts said reports of mass surveillance, torture, arbitrary detentions and forced detentions employed by China against Uyghurs amounts to "demographic genocide".
Recently, a bill was proposed by leading US lawmakers seeking to impose various restrictions related to China's Xinjiang region including prohibiting certain imports. The US and China have sparred over the issue with the former imposing range of sanctions on CCP officials and entities involved in the human rights violations in the region. (ANI)