US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has labelled as "shocking" and "disturbing" reports that China's ruling Communist Party is using forced sterilisation, forced abortion and coercive family planning against minority Muslims.
Pompeo highlighted a report about the situation in China's Xinjiang region by German researcher Adrian Zenz published by the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation think tank.
Pompeo, a persistent critic of China, including its treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang, said in a statement the findings were consistent with decades of Chinese Communist Party practices "that demonstrate an utter disregard for the sanctity of human life and basic human dignity".
"We call on the Chinese Communist Party to immediately end these horrific practices and ask all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanising abuses," he said on on Monday.
In his report, Zenz says his findings represent the strongest evidence yet that Beijing's policies in Xinjiang meet one of the genocide criteria cited in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, namely "imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group".
Zenz says analysis of Chinese government documents shows natural population growth in Xinjiang has fallen "dramatically". He says that in its two largest Uighur Muslim prefectures, growth rates fell by 84 per cent between 2015 and 2018 and further in 2019.
The Chinese embassy in Washington referred to a statement by foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, saying "some institutions are bent on cooking up disinformation on Xinjiang-related issues. ... Their allegations are simply groundless and false."
Documents from 2019 revealed plans for a campaign of mass female sterilisation targeting 14 per cent and 34 per cent of all married women of childbearing age in two Uighur counties, Zenz says.
The campaign, he says, likely aimed to sterilise rural minority women with three or more children, as well as some with two children - equivalent to at least 20 per cent of all women of childbearing age.
"Budget figures indicate that this project had sufficient funding for performing hundreds of thousands of tubal ligation sterilisation procedures in 2019 and 2020," he says.
Zenz says that by 2019, Xinjiang planned to subject at least 80 per cent of women of childbearing age in its four southern minority prefectures to intrusive birth prevention surgeries - placement of intrauterine devices or sterilisations.
He said that in 2018, 80 per cent of all new IUD placements in China were performed in Xinjiang, while only 1.8 per cent of the population live there.