The Uighur minority in Urumqi, the Chinese capital of Xinjiang

Twitter removed a tweet from the Chinese embassy in the United States claiming that Uyghur women have been “liberated” from extremism and are no longer “child-bearing machines.” The deleted tweet summarizes a Chinese report denying the Beijing authorities’ allegations of forcible sterilization of Uyghur women in Xinjiang.

Twitter said the deleted tweet “violated Twitter’s rules,” but did not provide further details.

“A study has shown that the policy of eliminating extremism among Uighur women in Xinjiang has succeeded in liberating the minds of Uyghur women, promoting gender equality and consolidating the principle of reproductive health so that women are no longer machines to bear children, and they have become more confident and independent,” the Chinese embassy tweeted.

The tweet of the Chinese embassy in the United States was a sentence that was directly quoted from the article published by the China Daily newspaper and not the result of an official study as the embassy claimed in its deleted tweet.

In the government newspaper article attached to the tweet, it was stated that “the changes that occurred in fertility rates in Xinjiang were not caused by the forced sterilization of the Uyghur population, as some Western academics and politicians have repeatedly emphasized,” referring to the German researcher Adrian Zenz by name, a specialist in Xinjiang and Tibet societies.

In recent years, non-governmental organizations have accused China of intensifying its crackdown on Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region, including the mass detention of one million people, intensely human and digital surveillance, re-education programs, suppression of religious activities, destruction of religious sites, and forced sterilization of women.

According to experts and reports, these policies constitute a cultural genocide for an ethnic minority, which China rejects, which says that the camps are vocational training centers necessary to combat religious extremism and terrorism.

A comprehensive investigation by the Associated Press found that the Chinese authorities subjected hundreds of thousands of Uyghur women to pregnancy tests and used health protocols on women to undergo sterilization and abortions.

The investigation also showed that the birth rate collapsed by more than 60 percent between 2015 and 2018 in the areas inhabited by the majority of Uighurs in Hotan and Kashgar, while the birth rate decreased by 4.2 percent nationwide. The Associated Press said that the results of the investigation were based on government statistics, official documents, and interviews with 30 former detainees, family members, and a former teacher in a detention camp.

Statistics on the birth rate and population growth of Uighurs in Xinjiang have been known for months, but the Chinese authorities have not attributed them to “eliminating extremism” programs. In response to a CNN article about similar results, the Chinese government said the drop in the birth rate was due to “full implementation of the family planning policy.”


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