US-based researcher hits back at Chinese academic over Xinjiang

US-based researcher hits back at Chinese academic over Xinjiang

  • Xinjiang University academic Lin Fangfei claimed Adrian Zenz had fabricated statistics and deliberately smeared China
  • Zenz says it was a Chinese government tactic to use the guise of academia to attack something that propaganda has not been able to take on

US-based China scholar Adrian Zenz, who researches human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Tibet regions, has hit back at claims by Xinjiang University academic Lin Fangfei that he had fabricated statistics and deliberately smeared China in a report about mass sterilisation and birth control in the region.

Zenz published a report in June with the US think tank Jamestown Foundation which claimed the dramatic reduction of natural birth rate growth in some areas of China’s northwestern Xinjiang region coincided with government-driven sterilisation and long-term birth control campaign for Uygur women.

Beijing has been accused by human rights groups of having detained 1 million Uygurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities in internment camps, with some subjected to forced labour.

Lin, an associate professor from Xinjiang University’s school of politics and public administration, published a paper in September that disputed findings in Zenz’s report, such as Xinjiang’s drop in natural population growth rate and the majority of China’s intrauterine devices (IUDs), a long-term birth control, were fitted in Xinjiang in 2018.

The paper attributed these to changing preferences among Uygur women, such as deciding to have children later or using more birth control.