Hospitals in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region were directed to perform late-term abortions and kill newborn babies as a way to enforce the communist country's family planning rules.
Hospital worker Hasiyet Abdulla, told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that hospital maternity wards have created policies that limit Uyghurs and other minority groups to three children in rural areas and two in urban regions.
And Uyghur women are expected to wait several years in between births. If they don't abide by the policy, doctors will "kill the babies after they'd been born," Abdulla said.
"They wouldn't give the baby to the parents — they kill the babies when they're born. It's an order that's been given from above. It's an order that's been printed and distributed in official documents. Hospitals get fined if they don't comply, so of course, they carry this out," Abdulla added.
Each hospital in the region has a family-planning office where staff members maintain a detailed breakdown of all pregnancies.
"There were babies born at nine months who we killed after inducing labor," Abdulla said. "They did that in the maternity wards because those were the orders."
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According to RFA, babies born alive were taken from their parents, killed, and then discarded like trash. Abdulla noted that these instructions were "an order that's been given from above." Hospitals face a fine or punishment for violating the orders.
In June, the Associated Press reported that the Chinese government is pushing for population control in Xinjiang to the extent that they are forced women to have pregnancy checks, receive birth control, or have an abortion.
"It's not an immediate, shocking, mass-killing-on-the-spot-type genocide, but it's a slow, painful, creeping genocide," said Dr. Joanne Smith Finley with Newcastle University in the United Kingdom.
Finley described the government efforts as a "direct means of genetically reducing the Uyghur population."
An Uyghur woman named Bumeryem told RFA that she left the region in 2016 to live in Turkey. She was forced to have an abortion in 2004 when she was pregnant with her fourth child.
"I had to get an abortion because the pregnancy was my fourth, and they gave me an injection through my belly button—I paid 200 yuan (US $29) for the procedure myself," Bumeryem said.
She had considered giving birth to the child on her own and giving it to her brother to raise—a common practice by Uyghurs seeking to skirt family-planning restrictions—but her sister-in-law was worried that their family would be targeted by authorities.
Bumeryem added that she was taken to the hospital and the abortion was performed when she was five months pregnant.
"It was a boy," she said. We could find out the sex at five months. If my baby who was aborted were alive today, he'd be 15 years old."
"There were women there in even worse situations than mine. I lay in my bed and cried," Bumeryem concluded.
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