International Day of Families (May 15)

China is destroying Uyghur and Kazakh families (Press Release)

On the occasion of the International Day of Families (April 15), the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has criticized the Chinese government's brutal policy against Uyghur and Kazakh families in Xinjiang / East Turkestan. Widespread forced sterilizations prevent family planning, while children and their parents are permanently traumatized by targeted family separations. "The state authorities in Xinjiang have various measures," explained Hanno Schedler, STP expert on genocide prevention and the Responsibility to Protect. "Not only have more than one million Uyghurs been arbitrarily detained in re-education camps since 2017. As early as in 2016, the Chinese state also started sending Communist Party cadres into Muslim families to monitor them and their habits." According to the state-run Xinhua news agency, 1.1 million cadres were sent to 1.6 million families, where they then lived for a period of up to two months. "For the families under observation, it is almost impossible to avoid such a visit or to dodge the cadres' questions. They are under duress, for fear that the next question will be which of their family members should be submitted to the internment camp system or be imprisoned based on some absurd charge," Schedler said. Chinese television and the country's social media, on the other hand, show pictures of families and cadres raising their glasses to each other – as an attempt to whitewash the situation.

Uyghurs and Kazakh children who are forcibly removed from their families and placed in state-run boarding schools are referred to as "children who have lost their parents or whose parents cannot be found" by the Chinese authorities. In boarding schools – where children of non-interned parents are put as well – the authorities try to alienate the children from their roots: "The children are only taught the Chinese language, and they no longer learn anything about the Uyghur or Kazakh traditions and history. Instead, the Islamophobic Communist Party aims to indoctrinate them in order to break the bonds between the generations," Schedler criticized.

The family separations are part of state policies that – along with forced sterilizations, forced abortions, the forced insertion of IUDs, and the destruction of mosques and cemeteries – are aimed at reducing the Uyghur and Kazakh populations. According to a just-released report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the birth rate among the Uyghur and Kazakh populations in northwestern China dropped by 43.7 percent between 2017 and 2018: the sharpest ever recorded decline in a birth rate for a specific region. At the same time, there has been a slight increase in birth rates in parts of the region that are predominantly inhabited by Han Chinese.