| 23 April 2024, Tuesday |

China imposes ‘population optimization strategy’ to shrink Uyghurs in Xinjiang

Official Chinese documents and academic debate, reported that Beijing has imposed a “population optimization strategy” in order to shrink the population of the Uyghur community in the country’s southern Xinjiang.

As a part of this strategy, China is immigrating the people of the Han Chinese community in Uyghur populated regions while imposing strict birth controls on the Uyghurs, Radio Free Asia reported, citing a new report by German researcher Adrian Zenz, which is the latest in a series of studies of Chinese measures to control and assimilate the 12 million Uyghurs of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) that have formed the basis of genocide accusations against Beijing.

Only eight per cent of the population in Southern Xinjiang belongs to Han Chinese community, which is seen as a security concern, Zenz wrote in the 22-page report.

Therefore, “Increasing the Han population is seen as the number-one method to control southern Xinjiang and suppress the unrest that could be created by Uyghurs in resistance,” Zenz said during an interview.

China’s policies are “designed to achieve assimilation [by] trying to neutralize, assimilate, and dilute the Uyghur population,” added Zenz. A senior fellow in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington also said that this policy is “a way to promote intermarriage, interethnic marriage, which is another way to dilute the Uyghurs,” Radio Free Asia reported.

“If you mix a lot of Han into an Uyghur community, that community changes. You can also justify a change in policy so that you no longer need to respect the minority language or religion because it’s no longer mono-ethnic, [but rather] multiethnic, ” he added.

Meanwhile, the Uyghur population in Afghanistan fears that they will be extradited to China after the Taliban takeover of the war-ravaged country.

Earlier in August, a US-based research and advocacy group released a new report documenting the complicity of Pakistan and Afghanistan in China’s transnational repression of Uyghurs.

The report by Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs (Oxus), discerns different methods used by the Chinese government against Uyghur communities in Pakistan and Afghanistan.