A new report has found that China is forcing ethnic minority women in its western Xinjiang region to take birth control and, in some cases, undergo sterilization to curb population growth, in a move that certainly sounds like genocide.
China has been scrutinized for the atrocities committed against Uighurs—a Muslim minority group native to Xinjiang—and other mostly Muslim minority groups who have been detained in veritable concentration camps since 2017. The Chinese government initially denied the camps, which hold about 1 million Uighurs, existed in the first place, but now claim they are “re-education centers.” Now, the Guardian reports that women in the region are being injected with birth control, forced into IUD insertions and, in some cases, coerced into undergoing sterilization surgeries, all in an apparent effort to suppress the ethnic minority population.
The Associated Press conducted its own investigation, unearthing horror stories about government-mandated gynecological exams to ensure women weren’t pregnant, with fines and imprisonment imposed upon violations. Then there were forced sterilizations:
Once in the detention camps, women are subjected to forced IUDs and what appear to be pregnancy prevention shots, according to former detainees. They are also made to attend lectures on how many children they should have.
Seven former detainees told the AP that they were force-fed birth control pills or injected with fluids, often with no explanation. Many felt dizzy, tired or ill, and women stopped getting their periods. After being released and leaving China, some went to get medical check-ups and found they were sterile.
In some cases, women were even forced to have abortions:
In December 2017, on a visit from Kazakhstan back to China, Gulzia Mogdin was taken to a hospital after police found WhatsApp on her phone. A urine sample revealed she was two months pregnant with her third child. Officials told Mogdin she needed to get an abortion and threatened to detain her brother if she didn’t.
During the procedure, medics inserted an electric vacuum into her womb and sucked her fetus out of her body. She was taken home and told to rest, as they planned to take her to a camp.
Months later, Mogdin made it back to Kazakhstan, where her husband lives.
“That baby was going to be the only baby we had together,” said Mogdin, who had recently remarried. “I cannot sleep. It’s terribly unfair.”
In May, U.S. lawmakers passed a bipartisan bill sending a “clear message” of support to Uighurs in China, accusing the Chinese authorities of committing “gross human rights violations.” Trump signed the bill earlier this month, but according to John Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happens, he was perfectly fine with the Uighur detention camps.