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China manipulating Uyghur population data to counter genocide allegations

China has rejected the genocide allegations of Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang province by launching an all-out propaganda drive to counter the reports of oppression

China manipulating Uyghur population data to counter genocide allegations

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  5 Oct 2021 3:01 AM GMT

NEW DELHI: China has rejected the genocide allegations of Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang province by launching an all-out propaganda drive to counter the reports of oppression. On September 26, the Information Office of the State Council of China published the white paper "Population Development in Xinjiang", which introduced the population development of Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) with a large number of facts and detailed data.

The report said that Xinjiang's population development conforms to the universal law of world population development and is also a portrayal of the continuous development and progress of Xinjiang's human rights cause. All this benefits from the continuous release of social stability dividends in Xinjiang, showing the world a successful example of a unified multi-ethnic country promoting the healthy development of ethnic minority populations.

Beijing said that the anti-China forces in the West have fabricated so-called "genocide" lies in an attempt to deceive the international community, mislead international public opinion, and deter China's development and progress, which have led to sanctions against XUAR officials, and moves by them to block Xinjiang products suspected of having been produced with forced labour.

The report asserts that population growth in Xinjiang since 1949 refutes a series of reports on mass internment, forced birth control and other Chinese policies to reduce the proportion of Uyghurs in the region has angered the Uyghurs, while experts accused Beijing of cherry-picking the numbers.

The State Council Information Office's Xinjiang population white paper comes amid vigorous Chinese efforts to avoid scrutiny and condemnation of a litany of documented abuses in the region, including mass internment camps, sexual assaults, forced abortions, and forced labour.

Amid a surge in international awareness of the situation in Xinjiang that began about three years ago, a territory the size of Alaska or Iran, the US and other western states have determined that the treatment of Uyghurs constitutes genocide and crimes against humanity.

State media and Chinese diplomats regularly vilify the scholars who revealed the mass internment and birth control programs, and Xinjiang officials hold frequent news conferences to promote Beijing's views. China has not, however, permitted the UN or other independent outside observers to visit the region to investigate. The report cites census data indicating that of the region's total population of 25.85 million, ethnic minorities in Xinjiang totalled 14.93 million up from 4.45 million in 1953 while Han Chinese comprising the rest. The number of Uyghurs increased from 3.61 million in 1953 to 11.62 million in 2020, and accounted for nearly 84 per cent of the population in the four prefectures in southern Xinjiang, where the Uyghurs are concentrated, the white paper said.

The report says the Uyghur population grew at a 1.67 per cent compound annual growth rate during the first two decades of the current century is much higher than that of the overall ethnic minority population of China, which increased at the rate of 0.83 per cent since 2020.

President of the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress exile group said the report "attempts to present the so-called normal and natural growth of the Uyghur population as if China hasn't arbitrarily locked up millions of Uyghur people in concentration camps, forcibly sterilised hundreds of thousands of Uyghur women, separated Uyghur children from their parents, aborted countless Uyghur babies, forced Uyghur women to marry Chinese men, and coerced tens of thousands into forced labour".

"China will never be able to escape its criminal responsibility for the commission of genocide and crimes against humanity in East Turkestan by manipulating and manufacturing the Uyghur population growth data," he said. Chinese human rights lawyer Teng said that the government's statistics, including the national population census, are meant to serve the political aims of the Chinese Communist Party. (IANS)

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