Monday

26th Feb 2024

EU: Accountability needed on Uighur 'forced sterilisations'

  • A statue of Mao Zedong in Xinjiang. In 2018, 80 percent of all new IUD placements in China were performed in Xinjiang - despite the fact that the region only makes up 1.8 percent of the nation's population, according to the report (Photo: Michael Wong)

The European Commission has said those behind the alleged forced sterilisation and abortion of Uighurs and other minorities throughout China must be held accountable.

"If this is confirmed, such appalling practices, which would constitute serious human rights violations, must be stopped immediately and those responsible must be held accountable," a European Commission spokeswoman told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday (30 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The comments follow the publication of a 32-page report on Monday by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation think tank.

The report lays out evidence that approaches the genocide-criteria of "imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group", cited in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The European Commission refrained from describing the abuse as genocide, saying that the issues documented in the report need to be confirmed.

Drafted by China scholar Adrian Zenz, the report found a near-zero population growth in an Uighur region of China, home to a Muslim-minority group that has been rounded up and sent into so-called re-education camps.

Growth rates fell by 84 percent between 2015 and 2018, and further in 2019, in the two largest Uighur Muslim prefectures.

"In 2018, 80 percent of all new IUD placements in China were performed in Xinjiang, despite the fact that the region only makes up 1.8 percent of the nation's population," it says.

It also cited documents from 2019 spelling out a Chinese government campaign of mass female sterilisation in rural Uyghur regions like Xinjiang, targeting up to 34 percent of all married women of childbearing age.

"This project targeted all of southern Xinjiang, and continued in 2020 with increased funding," notes the report.

It said budget figures indicate hundreds of thousands of tubal ligation sterilisation procedures throughout last year and into 2020, with the central government paying for some it.

Critics say the campaign is part of a wider effort to replace the Uighurs with a more desirable population one either through elimination or by forced assimilation.

The Uighur regions were once among fastest-growing regions in China. Minority groups, especially families living in the countryside, were partially exempt from China's now-abandoned one-child policy.

But the mood changed in 2014 following a visit to the region by China's authoritarian president Xi Jinping and amid allegations of Islamic terrorist attacks carried out by the minority.

The United States was quick to react to the report, with US secretary of State Michael Pompeo demanding China end the practice immediately.

"We call on the Chinese Communist Party to immediately end these horrific practices and ask all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanising abuses," he said.

A spokesperson for the Chinese government is quoted in the Associated Press as describing the contents of the report as fabricated.

"Everyone, regardless of whether they're an ethnic minority or Han Chinese, must follow and act in accordance with the law," he said, claiming the government treats all ethnicities equally.

US warns EU on making friends with China's 'dictator'

The EU would be abandoning its values if it opted for a deeper partnership with China's "dictatorship", just because it did not get along with Trump, America's ambassador to Europe has said.

Opinion

How EU can help end Uighur forced labour

A recent report noted apparel and footwear as the leading exports from the Uighur region - with a combined value of $6.3bn [€5.3bn] representing over 35 percent of total exports.

Interview

Antwerp's Uigher refugee from China: where's my family?

Nurehmet Burhan is a Uighur refugee in Belgium who had to leave behind his family behind in China. "My new born baby has never seen his father, he doesn't know his father, he has never kissed his father," he says.

Russian oligarchs failed to get off EU blacklist

Hungary failed to get three Russian and three Chinese names deleted, as the EU approved its 13th package of sanctions ahead of an anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Feature

Only Palestinians paying thousands of dollars leave Gaza

Despite the high risk of dying from war, starvation or disease, Gazans are still not allowed to enter Egypt. Except those who bribe the authorities. And the EU mission EUBAM Rafah cannot be deployed due to security reasons.

Latest News

  1. EU rewards Tusk's Poland on rule of law with €137bn
  2. UK-EU relations defrosting ahead of near-certain Labour win
  3. EU paid Russia €420-per-capita for fossil fuels since war began
  4. After two years of war, time to hit Putin's LNG exports
  5. Creating the conditions for just peace in Ukraine
  6. Energy and minerals disputes overshadow new EU-ACP pact
  7. Germany speeds up Georgia and Morocco asylum returns
  8. How Amazon lobbyists could be banned from EU Parliament

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us