US voices disgust at China boast of Uighur population control

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Sam Brownback, US ambassador at large for international religious freedom, seen speaking in June 2020, has sharply criticized China's embassy for promoting population policies involving Uighur women

A US official voiced disgust Friday after China's embassy took to social media to laud how women of the mostly Muslim Uighur community were no longer "baby-making machines."

"Appalled and disgusted at lies" of the Chinese embassy, tweeted Sam Brownback, the US envoy on international religious freedom.

"Coercive population control is not reproductive health care. (Uighur) women deserve to enjoy their religious freedom and unalienable rights with dignity to make their own choices."

China's embassy on Thursday promoted a study in state-run media that said that the birth rate declined in 2018 among Uighur women as they increasingly accepted contraceptive measures due to the "eradication of religious extremism."

"The minds of (Uighur) women in Xinjiang were emancipated and gender equality and reproductive health were promoted, making them no longer baby-making machines," the embassy tweeted from the study.

Rights groups say more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim people in China's northwestern region of Xinjiang have been incarcerated in camps in a bid to root out Islamic customs and forcibly integrate minorities.

China insists it is offering vocational training to reduce the allure of extremism in the wake of deadly attacks.

A study by German researcher Adrian Zenz last year found that China had forcibly sterilized large numbers of Uighur women and pressured them to abort pregnancies that exceeded birth quotas, an assertion denied by Beijing.

US lawmakers have pointed to population control as they push for a declaration that China's policies meet the definition of genocide.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group, urged Twitter to remove the tweet by the embassy, which it said used the platform "to celebrate crimes against humanity."