Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday delivered a speech advocating for women’s rights at the United Nations (U.N). World Conference on Women in Beijing.
His address failed to mention the human rights atrocities his government has sponsored, particularly against Uyghur women, in China’s northwestern Xinjiang territory.
In his speech, Xi addressed the U.N., virtually, and fellow attendees of the “high-level” meeting in Beijing. As general secretary of the Communist Party of China, Xi was likely joined by the body’s senior members.
While proposing ways Beijing and the U.N. could minimize the impact of the coronavirus on women, Xi said that the entities need to “crack down on violations of women’s rights and interests. We need to improve social services, with priority given to special groups such as pregnant and postnatal women.”
The U.N. “should do more … to eliminate violence, discrimination, poverty, and other old problems” facing women in China, Xi added later in his speech.
The Chinese leader’s calls to end violence against women and protect their maternal healthcare rights ring hollow when contrasted against reports of the horrific conditions Uyghur women face while detained in state-run concentration camps in Xinjiang.
According to a Washington Post report last fall, women survivors of the camps said they were forcibly sterilized upon entering the facilities in anticipation of the rampant sexual abuse they would endure at the hands of guards. As Breitbart News reported:
One human rights activist told the Post they had documented at least seven cases of women being forced against their will to receive intrauterine devices as part of their entering the concentration camp, presumably to keep them from getting pregnant through rape.
Those who were arrested while pregnant – often for “crimes” like downloading the messaging application WhatsApp – were forced into harrowing abortions.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) began building detention camps in Xinjiang in 2017 to detain Uyghurs for exhibiting “extreme behavior,” such as practicing their Muslim faith. For years, the Communist Party has forced Han Chinese cultural assimilation onto the minority population in the region. The CCP has detained one to three million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang’s camps in recent years, according to human rights groups.
Outside of Xinjiang, China has been forcing women to have abortions and sterilizing them against their will for decades. In 1979, dictator Mao Ze Dong imposed what became known as the “one-child policy,” a population control plan that made it illegal for Chinese couples to have more than one child. The result was widespread forced abortion and infanticide, particularly the killing of girl babies since they were considered less valuable.
Xi Jinping expanded the one-child policy to two children in 2015 — in response to economically devastating population decline statistics and a shortage of women of childbearing age nationwide. The new policy has not resulted in an end to forced abortions, forced sterilization, or infanticide, reports indicate.
By the time Beijing expanded the one-child child, state media reported that the policy “prevented 400 million births,” or killed hundreds of millions of people.