A study has found that the birth rate in Xinjiang, China, the center of a controversial human rights abuse crisis on the Uyghur Muslim people group, fell by almost 50% between 2017 and 2019.
The Guardian reported on May 12th that the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) released a report that found that the fertility rate in Xinjiang fell by 48.7% between 2017 and 2019. In regions where the proportion of ethnic minorities such as Muslims is more than 90%, the fertility rate in 2018 decreased by 56.5% compared to the previous year. The report said that in the 71 years that the United Nations (UN) has compiled fertility statistics, even including the genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia, such decline in fertility rate is unprecedented.
The report suspects Chinese government intervention. In 2017, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) minority childbirth policy changed from “compensation and encouragement” to “forced surveillance,” and since then, strong penalties such as fines and disciplinary actions have been made for “illegal births” that exceed the allowable limit. The report was based on the fact that in 2017, more than 460 citizens who gave birth illegally in Hunan County, where 97% of the population consists of ethnic minorities such as the Uyghurs, were punished. Xinjiang’s policy implementation document was also cited, which set the fertility rate target in Xinjiang as one of the lowest in the world.
Controversies over human rights abuses of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), are spreading into international disputes. The United States continues to criticize China for committing “genocide,” and the European Union also imposed sanctions on Chinese officials related to human rights issues in Xinjiang in March. China claims that this is all fake news and interference into internal affairs and is also boycotting international apparel companies that have announced they will stop using Xinjiang cotton.
28 Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak,
And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31, NKJV)
God, remember the Uyghur people who are living in fear due to the heavy oppression and surveillance and control in their region of Xinjiang, China. We confess that You, our God, are the only one who can truly comfort those who are weary and give them hope and strength to live.
Have mercy on those who cry to Allah, a false god unable to respond to them, as they look for their ethnic identity in Islam, even now, more than 1000 years after they were forcefully Islamized. God, who answers, will let them know Jesus Christ, who came to this earth to save all nations!
There are many who continue to desire independence from China and hope to build their own country. But Lord, may the Uyghur people come to see the eternal kingdom of heaven! May they not hope in an earthly kingdom but for the kingdom of heaven to come and change their nation and people!
May the Uyghur church know the Lord God, who gives strength to the weary, that they will no longer fight for the kingdom of this earth which is passing, but rather run for the kingdom of God which lasts forever!
May the Uyghur people spread this hope in Jesus to all the 55 ethnic minorities in China, and to all the peoples in the world who are suffering without the gospel! Let the Uyghur church rise up on wings like an eagle’s only for God’s kingdom! Amen!