While individual women have spoken out before about forced birth control, the practice is far more widespread and systematic than previously known, according to an AP news agency investigation based on government statistics, state documents, and interviews with 30 ex-detainees, family members, and a former detention-camp instructor. Xinjiang saw births drop from nearly 16 per 1,000 residents in 2017 to 10.7 per 1,000 in 2018, according to Chinese government statistics cited by the Associated Press.
"The state regularly subjects minority women to pregnancy checks, and forces intrauterine devices, sterilization and even abortion on hundreds of thousands, the interviews and data show".
The AP found that the population control measures are backed by mass detention both as a threat and as a punishment for failure to comply.
Muslim women who have "too many" children are also being thrown into the concentration camps now operating in China's Xinjiang region - facilities that President Trump has reportedly endorsed, according to former National Security Advisor John Bolton who alleged as much in his explosive new book, The Room Where It Happened.
After Gulnar Omirzakh, a Chinese-born Kazakh, had her third child, the government ordered her to get an IUD inserted. Two years later, in January 2018, four officials in military camouflage came knocking at her door anyway. According to the AP report, simply having three or more children can trigger police raids, detention, and fines amounting to triple the annual disposable income of the impoverished province.
Omirzakh said the men warned her that she would join her husband, a detained vegetable trader, and a million other ethnic minorities locked up in internment camps, if she didn't pay the fine.
"God bequeaths children on you".
Women who had fewer than the legally permitted limit of two children were involuntarily fitted with IUDs, says the report. "They want to destroy us as a people".
According to Mr Zenz's analysis of the data, natural population growth in Xinjiang has declined dramatically in recent years, with growth rates falling by 84% in the two largest Uighur prefectures between 2015 and 2018 and declining further in 2019. Across the Xinjiang region, birth rates continue to plummet, falling almost 24 percent a year ago alone - compared to just 4.2 percent nationwide, statistics show.
It is believed there are about one million Uighur people and other mostly Muslim minorities detained in China, in what the state defines as "re-education" camps.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demands China to end reported Uighur sterilisations
"This kind of drop is unprecedented. there's a ruthlessness to it", said Zenz, an independent contractor with the nonprofit Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C.
"The United States condemns the use of forced population controls against Uighur and other minority women and calls on the CCP to cease its campaign of repression".
Chinese officials have said in the past that the new measures are merely meant to be fair, with the law now allowing minorities and China's Han majority the same number of children.
In these camps they are "subjected to torture, cruel and inhumane treatment such as physical and sexual abuse, forced labour, and death", the CNN reported.
"The intention may not be to fully eliminate the Uighur population, but it will sharply diminish their vitality, making them easier to assimilate", said Darren Byler, an expert on Uighurs at the University of Colorado.
"It's genocide, full stop. It's not immediate, shocking, mass-killing on the spot type genocide, but it's slow, painful, creeping genocide", Joanne Smith Finley, an expert at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, told the AP.
"A body of mounting evidence now exists, alleging mass incarceration, indoctrination, extrajudicial detention, invasive surveillance, forced labor, and the destruction of Uyghur cultural sites, including cemeteries, together with other forms of abuse", the statement said.
Gulbakhar Jalilova, a Kazakhstan national and businesswoman, was held in an all-female camp in Xinjiang's capital, Urumqi, for just over 15 months before she was released in September 2018. Han women were exempt.
"Zhao also said the American government had been responsible for "genocide, racial segregation and assimilation policies" on Native Americans. on them".
"My Han Chinese neighbours, they sympathized with us Uighurs", Dawut said.