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How the Chinese Communist Party is persecuting Uyghur women

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February 9, 2021

“Their goal is to destroy everyone. And everybody knows it.” 

Tursunay Ziawudun, a Uyghur woman, spent nine months in one of China’s internment camps in Xinjiang. She was recently interviewed for a BBC article detailing the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse that Uyghur women face in the camps. 

In the article, Uyghur women who have fled China describe the brutal rape and tortue they experienced when imprisoned. (Warning: The article describes vivid physical and sexual violence.) Sexual violence is dehumanizing in every way possible. God created sex to be a unifying and pleasurable act, enjoyed between a husband and a wife. Yet, in a world wrecked by sin, sex is often used as a way for evil people to wield power over the vulnerable. By nature, women are typically more physically vulnerable than men, and nefarious men will use sexual abuse, rape, or other forms of sexual torment to control women and exert power.

On January 19, on his last day in office, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued an official determination that the People’s Republic of China is “committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China, for targeting Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups.” According to Axios, the U.S. has become the first country to adopt these terms to describe the Chinese Communist Party’s unconscionable human rights abuses in its far northwest. During his first full day at the Department, Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated a similar view of the atrocities, “my judgment remains that genocide was committed against the Uighurs.”

Former Secretary Pompeo stated that one of the key facts in his determination was the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) efforts to severely oppress Uyghur women with draconian birth control measures. Uyghur women are subjected to forced pregnancy checks, medication that stops their menstrual period, forced abortions, and surgical sterilizations. One of the major reasons that Uyghur women are even sent to the internment camps is for having too many children. The CCP’s goal, it seems, is to eradicate future generations of Uyghurs from China by maliciously manipulating who can and can’t bear children, and how many children a family can legally conceive. 

Adrian Zenz, a senior fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, in a new report delineates how the CCP has been systematically targeting Uyghur women in a draconian birth-control campaign. The report research reveals that birth-control violations are punishable by extrajudicial internment in “training” camps, and evidence from the leaked “Karakax List” document states that such violations were the most common reason for internment. According to Zenz’s report, “in 2014, 2.5 percent of newly placed IUDs [intrauterine birth-control devices] in China were fitted in Xinjiang. In 2018, that share rose to 80 percent, far above Xinjiang’s 1.8 percent share of China’s population. Between 2015 and 2018, Xinjiang placed 7.8 times more new IUDs per capita than the national average.”

This, in itself, is nothing new. The CCP has waged a long and dreadful war against women, more specifically against baby girls. Through the coercion of the one- and two-child policies, it created a gender imbalance as stark as 120 boys for every 100 girls. Families in China often had to seek the approval of local family-planning officials just to have a child, even if they hadn’t already reached the one-child cutoff. To meet quotas and restrict population growth, women were subject to forced abortions, and men and women to forced sterilizations.

A genocide determination is a critical step in countering China morally, and the United States was correct in making this assessment. However, countering the CCP’s gross violations of human rights abuses must be a global effort, and other countries should stand up too for the persecuted and the oppressed.

As Christians, we are commanded to care deeply about persecution and violence against the vulnerable. Both are antithetical to how God designed humans to flourish. Christians should educate themselves and then speak clearly and boldly about the abuses that are happening to women and girls around the world. We should advocate for the vulnerable, abused, and voiceless in every nation. Few of us will ever endure what Uyghur women experience, but we ought to use our freedom and our voices to call for protection of persecuted people abroad.

Photo Attribution:

EMMANUEL DUNAND / Getty Contributor

Chelsea Patterson Sobolik

Chelsea Patterson Sobolik serves as a Policy Director in the Washington, D.C. office of the ERLC. Previously, she worked in the U.S. House of Representatives on pro-life policies, domestic and international religious freedom, adoption, and foster care issues. Chelsea is the author of Longing for Motherhood - Holding onto Hope … Read More