The Xinjiang Incident’s causes are due to Unequal Ethnic Policy, Unequal demographic Policy, and Unequal Economic Policy (Original in Chinese, posted July 8, 2009)
By: YI Fuxian, MD, PhD
Translated: Juni L. YEUNG, FXKQS
Below are the population information from various censuses[1,2]：
1953, First National Census, Total National population at 582 million, Uighurs at 3.6301 million.
1964, Second National Census, Total National population at 695 million, Uighurs at 3.9963 million.
1982, Third National Census, Total National Population at 1.008 billion, Uighurs at 5.9635 million.
1990, Fourth National Census, Total National Population at 1.134 billion, Uighurs at 7.2144 million.
2000, Fifth National Census, Total National population at 1.266 billion, Uighurs at 8.3994 million.
From 1953 to 1964, the total national population has increased by 19%. Due to a higher death rate among the Uighur nationality, the growth during that period is only 10%, and is lower than the national average. In 1971 China began implementing planned child-birth, and in 1980 the One-Child Policy. National aggregate fertility rate (average number of children per mother) has dropped from 5.44 in 1970 to 3.57 in 1975, and 2.24 to 1980. Due to differences in birth control policies in Xinjiang, the decline in fertility rates is significantly smaller to the national average, with the aggregate fertility rate going from 5.75 in 1971 to 4.93 in 1975, and 3.43 in 1980 . From 1964 to 1982, the total national population increase was at 45%, of which Uighurs increased a 49%, above the national average. The One-Child Policy in 1980 has caused a drastic decline in fertility rates, to about 1.3 since 1995. Figures show that the fertility rate was only 1.22 in 2000, and in the 1% sampling of the 2005 survey showed that fertility rate was at 1.33. As for Xinjiang’s planned-birth, minority agrarian villages have abided by the national policy of allowing three children (hence the National Population and Family Planning Commission of China had a basis of rebutt the accusation of “One-child Policy” as a total one), aggregate fertility rates have maintained at a high level. Rising to 3.6 in 1985, and curbing to 3.13 in 1990. With the economic development in the 1990’s, fertility rates have declined (esp. to the Han fertility rates), and is currently at 2.2 , of which ethnic minorities’ aggregate fertility rate still above 3 . From 1982 to 2000, population increase was at 25.6% (mainly due to extended life expectancy), and Uighurs have increased 40.8% (with comparatively more newborns).
The Han population in Xinjiang is primarily concentrated in cities and Production and Development Corps, of which the Xinjiang Corps consists of about one third of the demographic. The Han Chinese consist of 88.2% of the Xinjiang Production and Development Corps, and is subject to the One-Child Policy since 1980, along with the rest of the nation, but loosened after a decade or so to allow a second child. Due to the prolonged execution of the One-Child Policy, many young couples are indoctrinated and have completely accepted in practice the One-Child family model. During the time of the 15th Congress [Trans.: Sept. 1997], the aggregate fertility rate in the Xinjiang Production and Development Corps was steady at about 1.0, and the Corps’ Child-Planning Executive Liu Geyu has taken this as a source of pride and achievement. As for the Han Chinese in urban Xinjiang, it is even lower, so Han Chinese in Xinjiang Province should be even lower than the Development Corps. Ergo, the minorities that consist of 60.3% of Xinjiang’s population has a fertility rate of over 3.0 – which means that the aggregate fertility rate of 2.2 in Xinjiang is primarily due to the contributions of the ethnic minorities. Currently, every Han woman in Xinjiang has a fertility rate of less than one child, while the Uighur woman has over three. To ensure that the population does not decrease compared to the previous generation (generation renewal), China’s aggregate fertility rate needs to be above 2.3. Adding on top that minorities including the Uighur have a balance of newborns in both sexes, their generation renewal average is lower than 2.3. In other words, the Han Chinese fertility rates in Xinjiang are less than 50% of the minimum requirements for generation renewal, and the next generation will be less than half of their parents’ generation; while Xinjiang minorities exceed more than 50% of the renewal requirement, meaning that their population will be far more than that of their previous generation.
According to the extrapolations based on Xinjiang Autonomous Region Census Bureau’s 1% sampling survey in 2005, at midnight of November 1, 2005, within the 20,081,500 permenant residents, 12,101,200 of them are ethnic minorities, while 7,980,300 are Han Chinese. Their yearly increase rates are at 1.98% and 1.28% – with the minorities significantly larger than the Han, comprising 39.7% of the entire population of Xinjiang [8,9]. Compared to the Fifth National Census (2000), Xinjiang’s ethnic minorities have increased by 1.1316 million, with 226,300 people per annum; while Han Chinese have increased 226,300 people, with 98,100 people per annum. From this we can see that in the past five years, Xinjiang’s ethnic minorities’ growth have exceedingly outpaced the Han. A note of mention, the increase in Han population in the area is entirely due to immigration, while ethnic minorities’ population increase was due from natural birth. This explains that even the influx of Han Chinese immigrants cannot compete with the booming increase of ethnic minorities. By the time the people born in the 1950’s begin to die off, the Han Chinese of Xinjiang will be facing accelerated negative growth.
Although the Han Chinese currently consist of 39.7% of Xinjiang’s total population, they account for less than 18% of the Region’s newbirths. Without the immigration now, Han Chinese will decrease to an a negligible figure within a few generations. Adding to the various periphery issues, our work from the past several generations in immigration and development of the frontier will all be for naught.
Asides from the Uighurs, other Muslim ethnicities such as Hui and Kazakhstanis are also booming in population. Since the first census of New China in 1953 to the fifth census of 2000, the total Muslim population of the country has risen from 8.006 million to 20.311 million – a 153.8% increase. At the same time the total population increase was only 115.0%. This means that the Muslim population has grown 33.7% in excess of the national growth. In 47 years their numbers have expanded 2.5-fold, and is ranked among the fastest example in the nation’s demographic history. This is ample evidence to show that Muslims in China have a guarantee in good political and social standards, and is benefitting to the country’s premium policies .
Wang Pei-An, National Population Assistant Secretary-General commented on August 26, 2008 in Xinjiang, that in the intermediate-long term run, Xinjiang will be one of the regions in China with the highest rate of natural population growth, with particular to the southern Uighur-centric populations of Hotan, Kashgar, and Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture as the fastest. The three prefectures of southern-Xinjiang’s total population is 5.923 million, and accounts for 31.8% of the Autonomous Region. However, they account for 44% of Xinjiang’s total fertility. In the first half of 2008, these three prefectures account for 60% of Xinjiang’s third-born children. Taking into natural and geographic factors into account, over 97% of Xinjiang’s population is concentrated into the oases that comprise 8.22% of the Region’s land, with a population density of 131 per sq.km. The over-accelerated increase of population and the contradictions with its natural resources and environments are hence emphasized, as its desert and arid regions are considerably large, and its ecosystems are particularly weak, and is reaching a breaking-point of overload . This implies that large amounts of young Uighurs will be moving into urban areas such as Urumqi and other regional capitals for work. Along with the effects of urbanization, population mobility is accelerated even further。
At the same time, China deliberately executes policies benefitting ethnic minorities, actualizing policies of ethnic self-autonomy, and super-citizen education and political opportunies to individuals of these minorities. There is also a lax and appeasement policy on minority criminals, allowing fermentation of social deviance, and certain ethnic minority individuals never having to experience the punishments as dictated by law. They cannot perceive the seriousness of the power of Law, and this has assisted in the confidence of criminals.
The ethnic inequalities have also caused the reason to why the Han Chinese cannot amicably coexist with the minorities. In the market economy, enterprises strive for profit, and will not mimic the government in applying ethnic minority benefits in their firms. Firms are reluctant to hire the “spoiled” workers from these ethnic minorities, and hiring them also imply excessive risk and costs. This leads to the “discrimination” status among the ethnic minorities we can see today.
At the same time, due to the nationwide One-Child Policy, there is a shrinkage of young consumers. The producer:consumer ratio in China is as high as 63.5%, and much higher than 50% from other countries. Internal demands are lacking, and employment pressures are enormous, with a high reliance on foreign markets. The financial crisis has caused global decline in spending, and lessen imports from China, hence increasing pressure on China’s employment . In this high nationwide pressure of employment, Uighur youth bear the brunt of the wave.
In short summary:
- The planned-birth policy of the Han Chinese (One-Child Policy) has directly caused shrinkage in spending, and greatly increasing national employment pressures.
- Unequal demographic and population policies have created large amounts of young ethnic minorities in search of work.
- Unequal political treatment due to ethnic policies have led firms to be reluctant to hire ethnic minority staff.
This has caused large groups of young Uighurs to be unable to find a job. Large groups of unemployed youth are easily instigated to group together, causing mass incidents. From this we can see, unequal population policies and political benefits has not only been detrimental to the Han Chinese, but also similarly detrimental to other minorities.
Ethnic merging is an inevitability of history, and ethnic equality is the only way to be beneficial to this. However, the Chinese ethnic policy have artificially let ethnic minorities “become superior” to the Han majority, causing the Han to lack a sense of ethnic and cultural identification. Many people with only 1/16 minority origin are identifying themselves as an ethnic minority, and there are countless examples of minority identity fraud in standardized High School examinations. Some regions in China are competing against each other to apply to become ethnic minority autonomous regions. Phenomena from this kind of policy as a result exemplify that “creating” a sense of ethnicity (of being a minority), is against the tide of history.
The ethnic policy of America is comparatively better than certain other countries. One of the reasons is because at the same time while they welcome immigrants, they also emphasize on naturalization, with all ethnicities (races) relatively equal, and no exception is given toward crimes committed by an ethnic minority.
The path to the basic solution of ethnic problems: Ethnic equality (in rights for birth, political priviledges, opportunities of development, etc.)
Since everyone is a citizen in the People’s Republic of China, everyone should be given a normal and equal treatment. Han Chinese need to be given equal rights to birth and political opportunities, and ethnic minorities need to be given equal opportunities of development (following improvement of economic conditions, fertility rates will naturally decline). Toward all illegal instances, fair and equal justice must be served. True ethnic equality is the only key to solving the dilemma of ethnic clash and problems.
1.The First to Fifth National Censuses.
2. Population Analysis of Ten Ethnicities with Muslim Faith in China (中国信仰伊斯兰教的十个民族人口发展分析). NPFPC of Gansu. July 5 2007. http://www.gsjsw.gov.cn/html/tpzlk/10_34_25_385.html
3. Du Weihua (杜卫华). A Preliminary report on Population and Socio-economic development in Ethnic Regions – A Comparison of Jilin-Yanbian Koreans and Xinjiang Uighur Ethnicities. (民族地区人口与生态经济发展初探——吉林延边朝鲜族与新疆维吾尔族民族比较.) http://www.usc.cuhk.edu.hk/wk_wzdetails.asp?id=1813
4. Guo Zhigang (郭志刚). A Research and Discussion on the Fertility Rate Averages in 1990’s China. (对中国1990年代生育水平的研究与讨论). Renkou Yanjiu 人口研究. Mar 2004.
5. Aggregate fertility rates and fertility Rates by Age of Birthmothers in Various Regions (各地区育龄妇女年龄别生育率及总和生育率). Figures from 2005 1% Survey Sampling (2005年全国1%人口抽样调查数据). National Bureau of Statistics of the People’s Republic of China. http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/ndsj/renkou/2005/html/0803.htm
6. GDP: Reflections from Aggregate to Per-capita (GDP：从总量到人均引发的思考). Tianshan Net (天山网). March 6 2008. http://www.tianshannet.com/speci … content_2476095.htm
7. Xinjiang enters Fourth Birth Peak, South Xinjiang Pressures Exempliary (新疆进入第四次生育高峰 南疆压力突出). People’s Daily Net (Source: Xinhua) (人民网（来源：新华网）). August 29, 2008. http://www.people.com.cn/GB/125298/125390/7747170.html
8. Xinjiang: Ethnic Minority Population Growth Faster than Han (新疆：少数民族人口增速快于汉族). China.com.cn (中国网). April 5, 2006. http://www.china.com.cn/chinese/renkou/1175509.htm
9. Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region 2005 1% Survey Sampling Main Statistics Report (新疆维吾尔自治区2005年全国1%人口抽样调查主要数据公报). Office of the Investigation Leading Committee in the 1% Survey Sampling in The Government of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (新疆维吾尔自治区人民政府1%人口抽样调查领导小组办公室). March 20, 2006. http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjgb/rkp … 60323_402312743.htm
10. Yuan Xin (原新). An investigation on Xinjiang’s Population Prediction and Control (新疆人口预测与控制探讨). Xinjiang University Paper (Philosophy, Social Sciences page) (新疆大学学报（哲学社会科学版）) 1995.No. 1.
11. Han Lin (韩琳). Development Corps Family Planning Secretary-General Liu Geyu: Creating a Good Population Environment (兵团计生委主任刘戈玉:创造良好人口环境). Xinhua Net (新华网). April 3, 2006. http://bt.xinhuanet.com/2006-04/03/content_6633607.htm
12.Yi Fuxian (易富贤). The Immediacy of the Need for Stopping Planned Birth from the Perspective of the Financial Crisis (从金融危机看停止计划生育的急迫性). Guangming Wang – Guangming Guancha (光明网-光明观察). December 15, 2008. http://guancha.gmw.cn/content/2008-12/15/content_869535.htm
Note: The original link in Hanminzu temporary site is gone due to self-censorship, but copies of this essay can be found in overseas Chinese forums, such as this one. The original article is located here. Dr. Yi’s prolific blog articles have gained an increasing support over the past few years among Chinese netizens, but very few are known in the English-speaking world. I hope Dr. Yi won’t mind me translating one in light of the recent issues.