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The Plight of the Uyghur People


Dear Chairman, Members of Congress, Ladies, and Gentlemen, First of all, l would like to thank you for giving me this precious opportunity to testify before you. My name is Yemlibike Fatkulin. I have asylum in the United States. I came to the US two years ago. Now I would like to testify on coercive Chinese birth control policies imposed on the Uyghur people since 1984.

The Uyghur People

To restrain and control the natural growth of the Uyghur population, the Chinese government has carried out a coercive birth control and forced sterilization policy on the Uyghurs in East Turkistan. Since then, under the pretext of “ensuring a steady growth in minority population,” “improving the quality of minorities” and “eliminating economic inequalities,” the Chinese government launched a series of extensive birth control and forced sterilization campaigns all over East Turkistan, targeting the Uyghur women.

In the summer of 1998, my cousin Eneytulla Habibil’s wife Mangnehan was about to have twins at Turpan Yar village 5-star hospital. However, the twins were immediately aborted after hospital officials learned that they already had a child. At that time my cousin was in prison, serving his 2-year sentence for religious activities.

Selective Birth Policy

Officially, the one child policy only applies to the nationalities over 10 million population in China. East Turkistan (which is also called Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region by China), with a Uyghur population around eight million, is regarded as a “minority nationality” and is in theory not subject to the provisions of family planning legislation in China. However, in practice, the birth control and sterilization policies have been actively promoted and encouraged by the Chinese government in the Uyghur towns and villages of Eastern Turkistan, especially in rural areas.

Most of my relatives live in Turpan, an oasis town near Urumchi. My cousin Tursunay, who is Eneytulla’s sister, was sentenced to prison for two years in 1995. All she did was wear religious veils and devoted herself to study religion. She was forcibly sterilized in a prison at Turpan. Now she is out of prison. However, she could never have a child in her lifetime.

Birth Control Clinics

The Chinese government has set up a large number of family planning work force and birth control clinics in all the hospitals of East Turkistan. Every year, in order to speed up the implementation of birth control and sterilization policies toward the indigenous Uyghurs, mobile family planning teams are sent out to countryside areas for conducting mass abortion and sterilization. Those Uyghur women who refuse to have an abortion are forcibly operated upon.

Chinese birth control policies and regulations imposed on the Uyghurs affect both Uyghur women and children. My relative Kerimhan’s three babies were all aborted by Chinese doctors in Turpan Yar village 5-star hospital. As a result of forced abortion, she developed severe bleeding problem until this very day.

Fines and Punishments

Besides the complex rules controlling how many children Uyghurs can have legitimately, there is also a series of fines and punishments for Uyghur couples who break the rules and have an unauthorized child.

My stepsister Arzigul Ablet was fined heavily after she had her first baby born before the designated time of birth by the Chinese government. Chinese family planning officials told Arzigul that she had to have her baby in early 1997. Since Arzigul had the child in December 1996, she was fined for 3,000 yuan, which was her six-month salary.

No Food, Healthcare or School for Unauthorized Children

Under these rules the Uyghur children who are born without state authorization can he denied residency, food, healthcare, and even schooling. Even though the Uyghurs who live in the cities are allowed to have two children and the ones live in rural areas are allowed to have three but most of the times they are denied to have more than one child with an excuse of having no extra quotas. The Chinese government, through social benefits and other further restrictions, usually discourages those who want to have more than one child.

Every year, the Chinese family planning officials claim that the birth control and sterilization plans among the Uyghurs in East Turkistan have been successfully implemented, and it has fulfilled the state requirements. According to some Uyghur family planning workers, in order to fulfill the quota of abortions, sometimes Chinese doctors are forced to kill the newborn Uyghur babies. As a result, this birth control system has lead to the deaths of many Uyghur mothers and children every year.

My neighbor Patam who had three children in her first marriage got married in 1993 with a Uyghur man who had two children. Together they wanted to have a child after they got married. However, she was forcibly operated upon and her child was aborted in Urumchi #2 People’s Hospital. She became paralyzed ever since her baby was aborted. She couldn’t walk or stand up after this tragic event.

Ongoing Genocide

The current Uyghur population is less than one percent of China’s total population. To restrict and control the natural growth of a population of this size in any country is to totally annihilate and genocide them. Therefore, the Chinese birth control policy of forced abortion and sterilization of Uyghurs is not a policy of ensuring the overall quality of Uyghur population. On the contrary, it is to gradually exterminate them by imposing all the political, economic, and social means and restrictions.

Yemlibike Fatkulin, an Uyghur from Eastern Turkistan, was recently granted asylum in this country.

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