The Uyghur population in China's southern Xinjiang region could suffer massive losses due to Chinese birth-control policies, resulting in the loss of up to a third of its population in the next 20 years.
Experts analyzed the policies and believe they could result in a population cut of anywhere between 2.6 and 4.5 million minority births during the timeframe. Many Western nations and leaders have accused China of committing genocide in Xinjiang, particularly against the Uyghur minority.
However, Chinese leaders have continued to deny the statements saying the decline of Uyghur birth rates are brought about by other factors.
Researcher Adrian Zenz conducted the new study, the first peer-reviewed academic paper on the long-term effect of China's attempt to control the Uyghur and other minorities. The study discovered that by 2040, China's birth-control policies would result in an ethnic population of 8.6 million to 10.5 million in Xinjiang.
The number is a stark contrast to a projected 13.1 million that Chinese researchers estimated before Beijing started its control of the Uyghur population. Zenz said the results of the study showed the objective of the Chinese government with regard to the Uyghur minority.
Zenz reported that by 2019, Xinjiang authorities began to force intrusive birth prevention surgeries to at least 80% of women who were at the age where they could bear a child in the southern minority prefectures. The researcher referred to the Chinese government using IUDs or sterilisations.
Many experts accused China of forcibly detaining at least a million Uyghur and other Muslims in the southern region of the country. Chinese leaders are facing criticisms that they planned to reduce the minority Muslim population in Xinjiang, BBC reported.
Chinese leaders are denying that the reduced birth rate is due to forced birth-preventive processes. They cited factors such as the full implementation of the region's existing birth quotas, development factors, and a broader access to family planning services.
China's Foreign Ministry said the term "genocide" against the Uyghur minority was pure nonsense. It said many anti-China forces in the United States and other countries in the West fabricated the lies with ulterior motives.
The ministry also said data showing a reduced birth rate of the Uyghur population from 2017 to 2019 was not indicative of the situation in the region. It said the minority still had a higher population than the Han ethnic people in Xinjiang.
The preventive measures to reduce the Uyghur birth rate come in sharp contrast with China's wider birth policies. Beijing announced last week they are allowing married couples to have up to three children, previously a maximum of two. This signified one of the largest changes since the country's one-child policy was removed in 2016, Rappler reported.
Many residents, researchers, and rights groups, are criticizing China for its alleged disproportionate passing of judgement to people who exceed the Quota. For the majority of the country, residents are only fined, but in the case of Islamic minorities, they are given detention for exceeding birth quotas.