Growing reports of forced abortions in China prompted additional condemnation of the communist government’s oppressive population control measures from the Trump administration this week.
Fox News reports on Tuesday, a U.S. State Department official urged the People’s Republic of China to end its “brutal repression” of Muslim minorities through forced abortions and sterilizations.
“We are extremely concerned by reports of forced abortions and sterilization in Xinjiang,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told the news outlet.
Ortagus referred to a new Radio Free Asia report about a former Xinjiang obstetrician who said hospitals were ordered to abort unborn babies and kill newborns if their parents did not follow family planning rules.
“These reports are consistent with an overwhelming and growing body of information that exposes the Chinese Community Party’s campaign of brutal repression targeting Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang,” Ortagus said. “We reiterate our call on the PRC [People’s Republic of China] government to reverse its repressive course in Xinjiang, release all who are arbitrarily detained, and to end its draconian and brutal policies to forcibly indoctrinate and intimidate its own citizens.”
Earlier this summer, the Trump administration sanctioned several Chinese government officials in the wake of an Associated Press report documenting numerous human rights abuses, including forced abortions and sterilizations.
The new Radio Free Asia report includes more details of these abuses shared by Dr. Hasiyet Abdulla, an obstetrician who worked at hospitals in the Xinjiang province for 15 years. She now lives in Turkey.
Abdulla said the hospitals all had family planning units that tracked women and their pregnancies. Women who were pregnant with more children than the allowed two or three or those who failed to space their pregnancies by at least three years were forced to abort their unborn babies and forcibly sterilized, she said.
“The regulations were so strict. There had to be three or four years between children,” she said. “There were babies born at nine months who we killed after inducing labor. They did that in the maternity wards because those were the orders.”
“It’s an order that’s been given from above, it’s an order that’s been printed and distributed in official documents. Hospitals get fined if they don’t comply, so of course, they carry this out.” Abdulla continued.
Others also confirmed these abuses to the news outlet, including a former family planning worker in Urumqui. Shahide Yarmuhemmet said the government requires families to “apply and be approved before they can have a child.”
“In the countryside and on the local level, in every administrative zone down to the countryside and local levels, there are family-planning offices,” she told the news outlet. “The village cadres go into every house … They always know clearly who’s pregnant, and they report it to higher-ups. If a pregnancy happens outside the family-planning policy, they do an investigation and then performed a forced abortion.”
For many years, pro-life advocates have been exposing China’s massive human rights abuses through its oppressive population control measures. Under its one child policy, the communist country forced women to abort their unborn babies through all nine months of pregnancy and penalized families with huge fines and jail time if they had a second child.
About five years ago, China loosened its one child policy, but pro-life advocates warned that forced abortion and sterilization practices continue.
Hundreds of thousands of Uighur women are being subjected to state pregnancy testing, forcibly sterilized and forced to abort their unborn babies, according to the AP. Additionally, at least 1 million Uighurs have been placed in “re-education” camps since in 2017, PBS News reports. According to the AP, one of the main reasons for their detention is having too many children.
The U.S. leaders have been taking actions to end China’s oppression of women and minorities.
According to Fox News: “Members of Congress have scrutinized relationships between China and companies like Nike or Apple amid concerns of forced labor. Last month, the State Department sent a letter warning business leaders about the potential for international commerce to help brands benefiting from slave labor.”
These warnings followed multiple sanctions by the Trump administration in July. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the United States will use “the full breadth of its financial powers to hold human rights abusers accountable in Xinjiang and across the world.”
It was not the first action by the Trump administration to protect minorities in China. Trump took a strong stand for the rights of women and children when he defunded the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars because of its connections to forced abortions in China.