Jul 11

Uighurs and population control in Xinjiang

Written by DJ on Saturday, July 11th, 2009 at 8:51 pm
Filed under:General, politics | Tags:,
Add comments

Amid all the debates regarding how and to what extend Uighurs benefited or suffered from preferential policies or discriminations in Xinjiang, there is much confusion in one particular subject. Namely, are Uighurs subject to the (in)famous population control regulation (AKA family planning)? And if so, what kind of restrictions do they face? This post tries to answer these questions with some concrete details.

Update: According to reading notes from Chistiane Reinhold, Uighurs were exempted from family planning till 1988.

As for the current situation, a short and simple answer can be found in a news report filed in March 2008. A Uighur representative to the Chinese People’s Congress told the reporter:

In Xinjiang, people like me (i.e., Uighurs) can have 2 children. But in Southern Xinjiang [where most of the Uighur population in Xinjiang reside], the limit is raised to 3. Furthermore [and again in Southern Xinjiang], if the first three children are all girls, then a 4th kid is allowed.

    A long, complete and more precise description of the regulation was published by the Xinjiang Daily on December 6, 2004. Click here for a Word version of the document. The following is a translation of some relevant sections of the document:

    • A couple in which one spouse is a minority is regulated as a minority couple
    • A couple in which one spouse is a urban resident is subject to urban population control rules
    • Clause 15:
      • For urban residents, a Han couple is limited to 1 child while a minority couple can have 2 children
      • For farmers and herdsmen, a Han couple can have 2 children while a minority couple can have 3 children
    • Clause 17: Families meeting one of the following conditions, with verification and permission by county/city level population control administrations, can have 1 more child:
      • Military member with disabilities classified as 2A or above, or others with equivalent level of disabilities due to official activities
      • Formally infertile couple that went through with legal adoption(s) and afterwards become able to conceive: limited to those with 1 adopted child for a Han couple or 2 adopted children for a minority couple
      • One spouse currently working in underground mines and already has five years or more working history doing so
      • Both spouses are themselves single child
      • One spouse is single child of a martyr
      • A couple with children as allowed by population control rules, in which one (or more) child is certified to have disabilities and is unable/unlikely to gain regular working capabilities in the future
    • Clause 18: Couples in 2nd or further marriages that meet one of the following conditions (except those remarrying formal spouses), with verification and permission by county/city level population control
      • Urban Han couple with at most 1 child combined through previous marriage(s)
      • Urban minority couple with at most 2 children combined through previous marriage(s)
      • Rural Han couple with at most 2 child combined through previous marriage(s)
      • Rural minority couple with at most 3 children combined through previous marriage(s)
    • Clause 19: All population control administrations must respond within 20 days from receiving a request as decribed in clause 17 and 18. This time limited can be, subject to superior approval, extended once for 10 extra days. The reasons for the extension shall be given to the couple making the request.

    Interestingly, I couldn’t find a clause that says (for a rural minority couple) if the first three children are all girls, then a 4th kid is allowed.

    There are currently 2 comments highlighted: 42882, 42969.

    73 Responses to “Uighurs and population control in Xinjiang”

    1. Raj Says:

      DJ, whilst coming up with your research did you get some info on other matters to do with population like the demographic nature of Xinjiang and how it’s changed over the last 30 years or so? Cheers!

    2. DJ Says:


      I am still looking for more recent and precise data. So far, the reading notes from Chistiane Reinhold, which I linked in the update section, has the best collection of data. You might also find SunBin’s post of images showing population distribution by race in Xinjiang interesting.

    3. EugeneZ Says:

      Affirmative actions like less strict population control, less severe punishment for petty crimes on the streets, lower college entrance score requirements, need to be carefully reviewed. They have unintended consequences. Well intentioned they may be, these poorly thought-out incentives can encourage wrong behavior in Uighurs, making them fall further behind on social-economic ladder. More Uighurs thieves and kid beggars on the streets of Shanghai, Beijing bring a bad reputation to Uighurs, and further encourage Han stereotypes about Uighurs population (them being lazy, dishonest, dirty, etc.). These stereotypes then make it so much more difficult for honest, hard working portion of their population to find decent jobs.

      Chinese government can learn a lot by studying the racial policies in the United States. California, where I live, has large minority populations (in that sense, similar to Xinjiang). We had riots back in 1991 after Rodney King beating incidence in LA. But large scale riots are quite rare today. As compared to whites and Asians, Blacks and Latinos in California have much lower income, much higher unemployment rate, much higher crime rate, much higher chance of ending up in jail. Racial bias and discrimination, although barred by law, are still rampant and common place in the United State. In well-to-do Silicon Valley, you can go down to East San Jose and find mostly Latino population, and if you go to Oakland, mostly Black. Racial group live in different neighborhoods of the same city, also similar to the situation in Xinjiang. But they do not riot anymore. Racial issues are very complex and very difficult to resolve, and China needs to be also realistic in setting the criteria of success in managing racial tension in Xinjiang.

      Equality should be a goal, but in short term, it is impossible to achieve. “No large scale or deadly ethnic violence” should be a short term goal. When thinking through the comparison between California and Xinjiang, several things come to my mind that Chinese government can consider:

      (1.) Well established rule of law – criminals, especially those who kill innocent civilians, need to go to jail and stay there. California jails are mostly occupied by African Americans (and Latinos), but we do not hear much accusation of racism based on this fact.

      (2.) There is no strong faction advocating the independence of Black America. There is no Rebiya Kadeer equivalent located in other country that has a platform on Xinhua or some other influential foreign media. Mexico is not supporting any kind of US based Latino independence movement. So fighting foreign interference is a must.

      (3.) Do not make the poor people too miserable or desperate. US has a lot of social warfare programs – Medicare for elders, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Homeless shelters, Social Supplemental for Poor ( I forgot the exact name, but a poor person can get around $600 a month from California government), 老人公寓,etc. In a way, the very poor (a lot of them blacks, or Latinos) can still lead a life of dignity.

      I always tell my friends in China that even though China now boasts many many millionaires or billionaires who are not shy about showing off their newly acquired wealth, but the measure of a “harmonious society” is not how lavishly the rich live, but how dignified the poor can carry on. With this criteria in mind, China is still far away from US in terms of overall standard of living. In fact, China is in its early stage (as compared to US and Western Europe) in its social development and modernization.

      We live in a connected world; China does not have to reinvent all the wheels in managing racial tensions. We can learn from the United States, and adapt to the realities of Xinjiang. It may not be “copy-exact”, but there is definitely opportunity for “copy-smart”. US have wrestled with racial problems since Day 1, and the history of racial oppression and violence is probably uglier than what we have in Xinjiang.

      I have not even touched upon the American Indians – killing 95% of native people and put the remaining ones in “Indian Reservations” will not be a popular policy in today’s world. We can use this to remind Americans of their ugly past of racial cleansing, but in terms of “copy smart” racial policy, it is not as useful. It is better to study the situation of Blacks and Latinos in the US.

    4. Shane9219 Says:

      Two US politicians, Bill Delahunt and Dana Rohrabacher, who actually run NED, appeared together with Kadear last week, accused China apply one-child policy onto Uighurs.

      Then a report on Huffington distorted the basic fact of the event by saying

      “This past weekend, Uighur protests in the provincial capital Urumqi turned violent when Chinese authorities fired on the crowds, leaving at least 156 dead and more than 1,000 wounded.”

    5. Shane9219 Says:

      A report on Zaobao on how China’s minority policy consistently help develop minority region



        据国家民委相关负责人介绍,目前,中国人口较少民族聚居村已全面落实“两免一补 ”(免学费、书本费、补助寄宿生住宿政策),适龄儿童入学率普遍达到95%以上,初中毛入学率多数达到90%以上;人口较少民族聚居乡镇全部实现“普六 ”(六年普通教育),大部分基本实现“普九”。”

    6. raventhorn4000 Says:

      I guess propaganda pissing war is on.

    7. Otto Kerner Says:

      EugeneZ: there have certainly been black American radicals who have been based in other countries, and there are certainly some anti-American people in Mexico. For the most part, they don’t bother to leave the U.S., since a variety of radical groups are able to operate legally here.

    8. Otto Kerner Says:

      Also, nobody killed 95% of the American Indians. They mostly died from disease. Obviously, the settlers weren’t real friendly to the survivors and killed good number of them, but nowhere near 95%.

    9. raventhorn4000 Says:

      “since a variety of radical groups are able to operate legally here.”

      And the FBI legally spy on them and occasionally interrogate them and lock them up.

    10. EugeneZ Says:

      Otto Kerner,

      Do the radical groups who do not bother to leave the U.S. go on the streets, burn down shops, kill innocent civilians by cutting their throats, slashing their bodies? Does US government sit back and leave them alone when they do that?

      Your attitude towards the atrocity committed against Native American Indians is also despicable – calling atrocity “weren’t real friendly” shows your true color.

    11. Otto Kerner Says:


      All I said is that they choose not to leave the U.S. and I set up shop elsewhere. I never said that everything is fine for them here.


      Your response is completely inappropriate. I made a factual point and you responded with emotion and insults. I’m sure you feel very much at home on this site, because the level of discourse here tends to be quite low. Carry on.

    12. Shane9219 Says:

      @Otto Kerner

      Please let me which radical group is still operating inside US after 9-11. I would like to know so that I can report to FBI to get paid for a large reward.

      What a joke!

    13. Charles Liu Says:

      Doesn’t Kadeer herself, a Uyghur, had 11 children?

    14. BMY Says:


      Everything you have been saying here in the last few days is just trying to find the excuse of the mass murder and show no sympathy to the victims. Now you are accusing all others of low quality.

      Maybe we all need cool down a bit.

    15. Nimrod Says:

      Otto Kerner Says:

      Also, nobody killed 95% of the American Indians. They mostly died from disease. Obviously, the settlers weren’t real friendly to the survivors and killed good number of them, but nowhere near 95%.

      That’s a valid point, except that it is often the case that policy consequences are lumped into “killing” when discussing other “rogue” countries, so I don’t see why the same shouldn’t apply here. Not providing any medical recourse to what is evidently a pandemic among population under your control is killing under that rubric. Let me drive the point home by reminding you that nobody killed the people who starved to death during the Great Leap Forward either, certainly not Mao personally.

    16. EugeneZ Says:

      Otto Kerner ,

      It is hard for me to feel sympathy for you that you feel “insulted” so easily. You are rather thin skinned when your views are criticized by others while you demonstrate a very high degree of INSENSITIVITY towards the victims of Xinjiang riots as well as thousands of slaughtered Native American Indians.

      Maybe you can shed some light on this discrepancy in your temprament.

    17. raventhorn4000 Says:


      “All I said is that they choose not to leave the U.S. and I set up shop elsewhere. I never said that everything is fine for them here.”

      I think you forgot the whole “back to Africa” movement in US.

      The entire country of Liberia was found by colonization by US African Americans.

    18. dan Says:

      Go on, Otto, keep posting. Now I see what kind of people is supporting DL.

    19. JXie Says:

      Otto Kerner #7,

      there have certainly been black American radicals who have been based in other countries, and there are certainly some anti-American people in Mexico. For the most part, they don’t bother to leave the U.S., since a variety of radical groups are able to operate legally here.

      You ought to think things through. Regardless what backdrops you provide, democracy vs. authoritarian, or Chinese civilization vs. Western civilization, in life there are cases in which people have goals just so conflicting with each others that they simply can’t co-exist in a society. Some of those groups ended up staying in the US because they chose to de-radicalize — there were only a small number of nations where they could operate from if they chose to stay radical, and from none of those nations they would be viable.

      This is pretty simple, for most of those subgroups under the umbrella of WUC, they will have to de-radicalize to be accepted by the Chinese public. Foremost be truthful, then focus on the civil right issues, not on the sovereignty.

    20. Charles Liu Says:

      Still trying to justify/rationalize the violence… sigh.

    21. rolf Says:

      Shane9219 Says: Two US politicians, Bill Delahunt and Dana Rohrabacher, who actually run NED, appeared together with Kadear last week, accused China apply one-child policy onto Uighurs.

      Shane: Can you prove the first allegation and give a link to the last one?

    22. raventhorn4000 Says:


      “All I said is that they choose not to leave the U.S. and I set up shop elsewhere. I never said that everything is fine for them here.”

      And if say another country helped them “set up shop elsewhere”, gave them funding, weapons, etc., what would US do?

    23. rolf Says:

      By Bhaskar Roy, 9-July-2009
      [Bhaskar Roy is an experienced China Analyst]

      The Chinese authorities cannot absolve themselves of the blame for germinating Islamist Uighur independence seekers. During the Afghan war against the Soviet Union, China trained and armed Uighurs to fight alongside the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Along the way, the Mujahideen was Pakistan’s ISI, the Taliban, the Al Qaeda, and Pakistani created terrorist organizations like the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and others. The Uighur fighters ensemble with all others as a grand orchestra.


      I have a question: Is it true?

    24. Otto Kerner Says:


      That’s a valid point, except that it is often the case that policy consequences are lumped into “killing” when discussing other “rogue” countries, so I don’t see why the same shouldn’t apply here. Not providing any medical recourse to what is evidently a pandemic among population under your control is killing under that rubric. Let me drive the point home by reminding you that nobody killed the people who starved to death during the Great Leap Forward either, certainly not Mao personally.

      Now, that is a good point. I don’t usually bother to correct popular misconceptions about what happened to the American Indians, since it can tend to have the effect of distracting from the massive criminality which did occur. The Great Leap Forward is not a perfect analogy, though, since when people talk about the number “killed” by Mao’s policies, they are attempting to talk about the results of policy decisions. Whereas, the depopulation of the Americas by disease was inadvertent — the people who caused it wouldn’t even have known how to do it intentionally — which is true regardless of whether they would have chosen to do the same killing given an option. I’ve never heard that “Not providing any medical recourse to what is evidently a pandemic among population under your control” was a common policy in North America, so, if you could provide some more information about that, it would be good. In most cases, diseases such as smallpox and typhoid fever would kill most of the people in an Indian group before they were conquered — that’s how they got conquered — they no longer had the manpower to resist.

    25. JXie Says:

      Otto Kerner, the keyword you may want to search is “smallpox-infected blankets”, and see how those were intentionally handed out to the Native American tribes. On the other hand, it’s very hard to conceive, never mind prove, that Mao starved those people to death intentionally. Incompentence, yes; malice, no.

    26. Shane9219 Says:

      @rolf #21

      Your questions are covered by the following links

      >> A report by VOA showed, Delahunt and Rohrabacher together with Kadeer last week at US Congress.


      “From left to right: Congressman William Delahunt (D-MA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), with Uighur activist Rabiya Kadeer ”

      The same news press was reported on World Journal



      Translation: Rohrabacher said “China has been enforcing one-child policy onto Uighur population, and what they are doing now is ‘genocide’. It means a termination of Uighur race completely.”

      2) Report on Huffington Post


    27. Steve Says:

      Will you people just quit with the Native American comparisons? First of all, it’s a tu quoque argument. Second, virtually none of you know much about Native Americans or the full history behind their contact with Europeans. Virtually everything I read on this blog is inaccurate. Anytime anyone says something about China that is inaccurate in the smallest detail, one or a few jump down their throats with corrections. The same could be said for what those same people are saying about Native Americans. If you don’t like it when people do it to China (and I respect that), then don’t do the same thing yourselves.

      Incidentally, American History courses taught in schools do a terrible job teaching about Native Americans. To really inform yourselves, you need to read far beyond the normal academic curricula.

      Now can we get back to Uyghurs and population control in Xinjiang? In 1949, there were 3.29 million Uyghurs in Xinjiang from what I could find on the net. Today, the population is 7.21 million, more than double the old rate. This can be looked at in two ways. One way would be to say that since the revolution, the Uyghur population has increased by 219%. The other way would be to say that since the revolution, the Uyghur population has increased by approximately 3,920,000 residents. In other words, the population increase in Xinjiang from Han immigrants is greater than the population increase from Uyghur births.

      That brings us to the key question, should the Uyghur birthrate be looked at in absolute numbers or as a percentage increase? If we look at the Uyghurs as separate from Han, then the absolute number makes more sense and would seem to favor unrestricted Uyghur population control. But if we look at Uyghur population growth as a subset of overall Chinese population growth, then the percentage increase number makes more sense and we’d want to restrict the birthrate exactly the same as the overall Chinese birthrate.

      I’m sure Uyghurs want to look at absolute numbers while Han would want to look at percentages. Under absolute numbers, the more liberal birthrate policy number makes sense, while under percentage increase the birthrate policy should be universal. So in the end, isn’t this a philosophical question? It seems many Han resent the Uyghur for having a privilege they do not, while many Uyghur blame the Han for their huge absolute number increase and don’t feel they should be subject to the same restrictions. What is the answer to this dilemma? I don’t know but I’d like to hear what you all think. So far, most of the comments have had absolutely nothing to do with DJ’s topic.

    28. Nimrod Says:

      JXie Says:

      Otto Kerner, the keyword you may want to search is “smallpox-infected blankets”, and see how those were intentionally handed out to the Native American tribes. On the other hand, it’s very hard to conceive, never mind prove, that Mao starved those people to death intentionally. Incompentence, yes; malice, no.

      JXie and Otto Kerner:

      The worst that can be said about Mao is he cared for his own prestige more than good policy, but at least that prestige is predicated on the support of the people — hence his fears after he found out the true dimensions of the famine. The best that be said about the Native Americans situation, on the other hand, is that they weren’t under any consideration at all, alive or dead — they were non-people, nobody cared about them.

      I suppose it can be argued which is better or which is worse. Normally I’d say an intention to do good is worth something.

    29. raventhorn4000 Says:


      I for one, am in favor of the AA type laws. The problem is however, always the implementations.

      US in comparison, has specifically rejected the rigid “quota for minorities” system. Perhaps wisely so. A rigid AA quota system tend to cause “reverse discrimination”.

      There are 2 problems that you brought up: (1) the absolute numbers that Uighurs would feel as discriminatory, (2) the special privileges laws granted to the Uighurs that make Han feel “reverse discriminatory”.

      (1) Naturally, Uighurs would feel “swamped” increasingly, as Han and other ethnic groups migrant into Xinjiang. This is a new problem in China. Historically, there are no great mass migrations of people across the land, except in times of great famines or natural disasters.

      Uighurs have not had a history of substantial contacts with the other ethnic groups in China.

      I don’t know if Uighurs feel that they should be more privileged than Han.

      Perhaps they merely feel that they should be allowed to conduct themselves according to their Islamic traditions and customs. (I don’t mean it in a religious sense, but merely what they are accustomed to.)

      Most people do not want to change their customs. Change can be frightening.

      On this point, philosophically, Chinese policies should be designed to “gradually” allow the Uighurs to adjust to the changing lifestyle of the nation.

      (2) “reverse discrimination” problem.

      As I mentioned, rigid “quota” systems tend to cause “reverse discrimination”, sometimes in the most silly ways.

      India had a similar problem with their AA laws, where they tried to reserve # of slots for “untoucheables” and other traditionally disadvantaged caste members in national universities, medical programs, and engineering schools.

      Indian academics protested in massive numbers, because the system was idiotic. There were so few qualified “untoucheables” that if some of them could barely read and write, let alone be able to succeed in the medical and engineering programs.

      However, that is an extreme case. Uighurs in China are not completely unqualified. But there are obviously cases where the AA laws seem to defy the laws of practicality and reason.

      *Should Chinese laws allow minorities privileges? I don’t think it’s bad thing. If one asked that question regarding Hui, Miao, Manchu, or Mongolian, or Korean people in China, I don’t think people would have that much of a problem.

      The minority ethnic groups are so few in numbers in China, why not allow them more privileges and benefits to preserve their cultures? I see no problem with it. (Of course, such benefits / privileges depend on the economic welfare of China.) The increase exchanges with the minorities would bring diverse point of view in other parts of China.

      I think the bigger issue is, Why now particularly toward Uighurs (and perhaps Tibetans), there are questions raised about whether they should get privileges?

      The answer is perhaps the “ungratefulness” answer. Some Han feel that Uighurs and Tibetans have taken advantage of the benefits and privileges, but have in turn become “trouble makers” for China. (For example, Kadeer, who benefitted from the exemption from the 1 child policy, and made money from Deng’s reforms and stream of Han business into Xinjiang.) (Or the Tibetan monks who live off of Government stipends in temples maintained by Chinese tax money, and then turn around to riot.)

      To be sure, no one is suggesting that Uighurs and Tibetans or any minorities should somehow fall to their knees to the Chinese government,
      but the problem is severe if the minority groups see “privileges” as “cultural genocide”.

      I think I am insulted as a Chinese person (regardless of my ethnicity), by such suggestions.

      I think most Uighurs and Tibetans are practical and realistic enough to recognize their “privileges” as “privileges”.

      But the fringe elements ruin the system for everyone.

      I am reminded of one of Steve’s comments to me, that if I’m unhappy with US, why would I stay in US? (I believe that was the line of discussion.)

      I replied, I in fact loved all my schools in US and my time of learning in US.

      I may have seen the dark side of life in US, but I don’t go around making a ruckus about every problem I had in US.

      Because I was grateful for my opportunity in US to learn and to benefit from the privilege of making new friends.

      Asians don’t get much AA privileges in US, because we are not the “disproportionally disadvantaged minority groups”. But we don’t complain about the US system much either.

      US even had many many anti-Asian riots, but we don’t call them “genocide”.

      *I’m merely illustrating this comparison for the question of how should Uighurs/etc. feel about the Privilege system in China.

      I think it’s up to people’s conscience.

      Most Chinese, Uighurs and Tibetans included would feel privileges and do the best they can with it, live life peacefully, and deal with the occasional unfairness/darkside of every country.

      That’s, of course, my personal opinion.

    30. Steve Says:

      @ Nimrod #28: Your characterization of Native Americans is grossly in error and would be disputed by most Native Americans. You’re trying to simplify a long and complex history by focusing on one admittedly very evil act that might have taken place but no one is exactly sure, and that act was ordered by the British, not the Americans. It’d be like someone talking about the Buddhist experience in China and condensing it into the destruction of Buddhist temples during the Cultural Revolution. To you this would be shocking and ignorant, wouldn’t it? That’s how you sound to someone who understands Native American history. Like I said, why don’t you focus on the question DJ posed? It’s a good question and I’d sure like to know what you think.

      @ R4K: Thanks for the long answer. I think what you had to say was interesting and informative but most of it didn’t seem (at least to me) to answer my question, though it’d fit nicely in a different post. What I wanted to know was not whether China should or should not have affirmative action, but how China should address the population issue that DJ brought up in his post. Should there be a difference between the number of children Han and Uyghur can have? If not, why not? If so, how should the difference be set? I doubt many would dispute that in today’s China, having 11 children as Kadeer did would be irresponsible and should be illegal, though I guess it was legal in her time. But is one child a reasonable number for a typical Uyghur couple?

    31. raventhorn4000 Says:


      I misunderstood your question. Thanks for clarifying.

      My answer would be, I think soon, China should remove or modify the 1 child policy for Han Chinese. (Perhaps to 2 children per couple.) And perhaps increase allowance to the minority groups to 4-5 per couple.

      The big problem is that soon, China’s population will have significant number of elderly. and many young Chinese couples are opting not to have any children.

      The 1 child quota is a little too draconian. Many Chinese couples, even if poor, find ways to circumvent the quota. And it has led to too many official abuses of the quota. (1 recent case about officials forcing the couples to give the children up to orphanages, and then falsifying the child’s record to “abandoned child” status, so that the children would be adopted by foreigners quicker. The Chinese anti-corruption task forces sanctioned 3 local officials.)

      The original intent of the program was to curb uncontrolled population growth in China. Now, with better medical care and better education in China, people are more willingly choosing not to have too many kids.

      So, 2 child per couple is probably a good enough alternative.

      Minorities should still be allowed to have more kids per couple. Their population growth would not substantially impact China’s overall population. And their own burdens would be their own trade off to having more kids.

    32. Shane9219 Says:

      @rolf #23

      “I have a question: Is it true?”

      Of course not true.

      Those self-appointed India “think tank” people for “International security” are not that professional to me. Making up an allegation without any proof. The last thing China will do is to arm unlawful Uighur fighters, unlike what US congressmen and CIA did in Afghanistan.

      The author of this article also did not get the strong signal that President Hu sent by a cancellation of G8 appearance and a personal meeting with President Obama — that politicians in US, Germany and Turkey should stop supporting Uighur separatist causes, and that national security is always above economy and other issues (State Conciliar Dai is responsible for national security).

      President Obama made a nice gesture in response — following his meeting with State Conciliar Dai, his national security advisor James Jones had a meeting with other Chinese diplomats there.

    33. raventhorn4000 Says:

      China did allow US to send supplies to Afghanistani fighters through China and Pakistan, but that was all non-military supplies.

      US would not be stupid enough to send Stinger missiles through China.

      And China is not stupid enough to send AK-47’s through its border to Pakistan. It might as well put weapons into the hands of Tibetans and Uighurs.

    34. Steve Says:

      @ R4K: I thought your answer was excellent and also very reasonable. How do you think it would be accepted by both sides if it became official policy? Do you think the Han would be resentful for the discrepancy in children, or having two children would be enough for them? How about the minorities? Do you think they could accept a limit on children, albeit one that is pretty generous?

    35. raventhorn4000 Says:


      I would add that the quota system should be also modified to “accommodate flexibility” (preferably through a judicial hearing procedure) to allow additional children if necessary.

      The quota system should not be enforced to rigid standards completely.

      The newer problem with the system is that too many rich people (like Kadeer and some Han Chinese) abuse the system by bribery, corruption, and even plain fraud.

      I think those abuses are more likely cause for discontent in poor Chinese people.

      The problem is, Rich people can afford to have many kids as possible, and they can afford to pay the fines, but that’s hugely unequal to the people, and it’s a built in system of corruption. (ie. rich people can take advantage of the system, but poor people are stuck.)

      In the interest of legal fairness and social fairness, the laws should be more lenient to the poor, and less lenient to the rich.

      The Law should allow mercy to the poor, who have little recourse, and a single mistake of an extra child should be tolerated. Merciless application on the poor, seldom yields good results in Chinese History.

      Minorities should be granted special privileges, because they are typically in areas of great poverty, and China should help them more to protect their cultural heritage, and that would also increase diversity in China.

      *I honestly do not know whether the Han Chinese population would be completely happy about this proposal, but again, if we built in some additional flexibility, they might be more at ease. (Less Draconian enforcement tend to put people at ease about the laws.)

      I don’t know if Minorities would be happy about this proposal, but it would seem that any increase would be welcomed, and would also give people hope in general that such laws would not be necessary in the future.

      Additionally, to make it work, China needs to sell the law. I remember when 1 child policy came along in China, a lot of people were not happy either. It went against everything that Mao had taught people to do and against basic human instincts. But massive amount of public education went into the public, and most people grudgingly accepted the law, and today, most People in China feel that that law was necessary at the time.

      Even India is contemplating similar restrictions on child bearing, though they dread imitating any Chinese policies.

      I think if my proposal is accepted, the increased quota for children (with flexibility) would be a welcomed gradual liberalization change in China, and will give hope to people.

    36. foobar Says:

      Many of what raventhorn proposed have been, or are gradually being implemented.

      The exact criteria for which a second (or more) child is allowed has always been, as far as I can remember, up to the provincial authorities. In 2005, this is officially relegated to the provinces by national legislation. I also remember reading about some cities/regions implementing their own criteria. Certain provinces have it pretty rigid, and that’s usually where the horrible incidences of brutal enforcement occur.

      These criteria usually cover differences between provinces, ethnicities, rural vs. urban, whether the first child is female, whether both parents are single children, adoptions, second marriages, certain professions, military services, returning expatriates, child with disabilities, child death, siblings’ children, etc…

      Here’s a link (in Chinese) to a list of some of these provincial policies. Please keep in mind that this is a snapshot, as they evolve with time.

    37. Charles Liu Says:

      +1 on what foobar said. While our media have stuck to with the bygone era of strict quota and forced methods, China’s population management policy have moved to service and advocacy oriented:

      – Defactoly Hans can have two children, with all the exceptions in the one-child rule. On a personal note all but one of my cousins in China have 2-3 children (the exception is due to poor health.)

      – Once punative measure for “extra children” have changed to rewarding extra social benefits for only-child

    38. Steve Says:

      @ Charles and foobar: Thanks for pointing out that the policies have been changing and becoming more flexible. I never condemned China for the one child policy; I always thought it was necessary at the time to get population growth under control. Do you think the resentment was mostly because it wasn’t uniformly enforced? I have a friend of mine from Shenzhen who has two sisters and a brother, and all of them were born in the “one child” era. She told me how her parents got around the policy (they did not pay any fees). She felt it was easier to avoid the policy the further away you lived from Beijing, but my guess is that it came down more to the specific district in which you resided, who you knew and how much money you had.

      Charles, rewarding extra benefits for an only child would seem to favor the rich, who don’t need the benefits and so can have more children. Do you think this will be accepted or still resented?

    39. rolf Says:

      The Rabiye Kadeer Building


    40. Steve Says:

      @ rolf: YouTube video links are fine but I’d sure like to have some commentary from you to know what you think about them. 🙂

    41. rolf Says:

      In his paper on the Dangers of Balticisation of China’s periphery this week, B. Raman noted the close links allegedly maintained by the Munich-based World Uighur Congress (WUC) with the US National Endow™ment for Democracy (N™D) and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) in Holland. The UNPO had played an active role in promoting the separation of the Baltic States from the erstwhile Soviet Union.

      “It (UNPO) had trained people from the Baltic states for many years. It has a similar active programme for the training of Uighurs from the diaspora. This training programme is allegedly being funded by the N™D,” wrote Raman, who is director of the Institute For Topical Studies in Chennai and is also associated with the Chennai Centre for China Studies.

      He concluded: “The Lhasa uprising of March 2008 and the Urumqi uprising of July 2009 have brought home a rude lesson to the Chinese — namely, that they cannot take China’s unity and stability for granted.

      “What happened in the Baltic states of the USSR can happen in China’s periphery inhabited by non-Han minorities if they do not pay attention to their grievances, anger and political and cultural aspirations.”


      PS: The Honorary President and founder of the UNPO is one Erkin Alptekin, an exile Uyghur who founded UNPO while working for the US Informa™tion Agency’s official propaganda organization, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as Director of their Uygur Division and Assistant Director of the Nationalities Services. Alptekin also founded the World Uyghur Congress at the same time, in 1991, while he was with the US Informa™tion Agency.


      UNPO on China: http://www.unpo.org/index.php

    42. Charles Liu Says:

      Steve @ 38, “rewarding extra benefits for an only child would seem to favor the rich”

      Not at all. If you can afford to have more children, you don’t get extra social services. That’s progressive.

    43. Steve Says:

      @ R4K: Could you watch the links that rolf provided and tell me why the mosque just can’t take her to court? If they had a signed agreement, isn’t that legal? And if Kadeer gave her son the property, why can’t he be sued over the agreement? These videos raise a lot of questions in my mind.

    44. Steve Says:

      @ rolf #41: Are you seriously comparing the Baltic States to Xinjiang? I think the CPC would totally disagree with that comparison. China has a much longer and greater claim to Xinjiang than Russia ever had to the Baltic States. If anything, that argument dilutes China’s claim to Xinjiang. For instance, the United States never recognized the Soviet Union’s claim to the Baltic States yet as far as I know, every country in the world recognizes Xinjiang as a part of China. I think the comparison is exceedingly farfetched.

    45. raventhorn4000 Says:

      Steve #44,

      I think Rolf is eluding to the theory some have, even among US policy think tanks, that 1 possible strategy to “contain China” is to fragment it like US did with USSR.

      It’s an old strategy, that obviously CIA tried to do by supporting the Tibetan militant fighters around 1959.

      Of course, US abandoned that course of activities, because of Nixon’s establishment of relationship with PRC, but there is no reason to suspect that US would not resume that strategy if it needs to.

    46. Steve Says:

      @ R4K: The USSR wasn’t a country, it was an empire. Are you saying China is an empire and not an integral country?

    47. Uln Says:

      Let’s not forget that China is the place where nothing is allowed but everything is possible.

      I say this because my friend the la-mian restaurant manager, who is a Hui from Xinjiang, recently had his 5th child, and his wife is ready for more. Not only that, but he also boasts about it freely, and everybody down the road knows it and nobody seems to be shocked, because oh well, he is a Hui.

      Even for Han people in the Shanghai suburbs it is very common to have more than 1 child, as C.Liu notes. So I can well imagine in lost Uygur villages where they are not so controlled by the system, reality must be very different from the regulations in OP.

    48. raventhorn4000 Says:

      Steve, #43,

      The video indicates that all the agreements were oral. Kadeer was accused of tax fraud among other charges. I would not be surprised that she defrauded private citizens as well.

      Keep in mind also that back in 1995-ish, many of these new Real Estate developers in China took advantage of the uncertain property laws in China, and cheated private citizens out of money and possession of land.

      One problem with Chinese property laws back then was there were no clear title deeds at that time. The Mosque in question sat on the land, and by virtue of its possession had legal control of the land, but no clear deed.

      If the government bought the land rights from the Mosque, the government would have given some equivalent size land plot “usury rights” in a new development. That’s how it was done back then for the developments. My grandfather’s old townhouse in Shanghai was exchanged by the government for 2 units of apartments in a new development, but NO formal exchange of title was done.

      Kadeer no doubt took advantage of her position of influence in the Chinese government (and her Muslim identity) to convince the Mosque to go along with the “oral agreement”, without formal writing in place.

      *Once it is done, there is very little the Mosque could do to sue anyone. They didn’t really have title/deed in land, and they couldn’t prove their oral agreement with Kadeer in court.

      (Even Han Chinese in some cities were cheated out of their money by some greedy developers. Back then, the safest way to sell land rights, was actually through the Chinese government, barring corrupt officials.)

      *I think the video said that Kadeer sold the properties to other buyers, and if any were given to her son, he probably also sold them as well. So suing the subsequent buyers are probably no go. (In US, we would call them “Bona fide purchasers for value who had no notice of fraud”.) Victim of fraud can never recover from the subsequent bona fide purchasers. They can only go after the original fraudsters.

      As far as suing Kadeer, after her arrest for leaking state secret and tax fraud, all her personal properties and money were probably confiscated by the Chinese government (Though I wonder, she probably transferred significant amount out of China.)

      It’s unlikely that the Mosque can sue Kadeer in US. (courts will likely find no jurisdiction over the case).

      The Mosque could sue Kadeer and her family members in China, in absentia, and probably win, but enforcement would be barred, since Chinese government took all her money (in theory), and the Chinese government would be considered the “superior lien holder” on Kadeer’s liquidated personal properties.

      (The law on personal properties is still very fuzzy in China. Today, it’s very unlikely that any individual can sue the Chinese government to recover from publicly confiscated money.)

      Unfortunately, there is no legal recourse for this type of property fraud victims from 1995-ish time frame in China.

    49. raventhorn4000 Says:


      “The USSR wasn’t a country, it was an empire. Are you saying China is an empire and not an integral country?”

      I’m not saying anything about the nature of USSR vs. China.

      I’m merely stating that US has tried the same strategy with China before, (ie. Balkanization/ fragmentation).

    50. Shane9219 Says:

      @uln #47

      1) Urban minority families can have 2 children, 3 for rural minorities. They receive a reward if they decide to stop

      1) One-child policy has been loosened in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai, so some families can have more than one, but they have to pay a fine (?)

    51. Otto Kerner Says:


      The comparison between Xinjiang and the Baltic states seems pretty straightforward to me, although no analogy is exact. The Baltic states were part of the Russian empire for hundreds of years, but Russia lost control of them in the early part of the 20th century. In the 1940s, a resurgent communist Soviet Union reasserted control over this territory without asking the locals how they felt about that. Much hardship ensued for the people of the Baltics due to the dysfunctional politics of the new political center. Xinjiang was a part of the Chinese empire for hundreds of years, but China lost control of it in the early part of the 20th century. In the 1940s, a resurgent communist China reasserted control over this territory without asking the locals how they felt about that. Much hardship ensued for the people of Xinjiang due to the dysfunctional politics of the new political center.

      The main difference between the two cases is, as you say, the degree of international recognition in the two cases. Any comparison will also bring up contrasting points like this. I don’t find the recognition issue as impressive as some people do. I think it has a lot to do with the three Baltic countries being familiar, Western, Christian countries, while Xinjiang was more “out of sight, out of mind” from the perspective of the Western powers.

    52. JXie Says:

      Otto Kerner, #51

      Fair enough but would like to present a couple of meaningful differences. First before and after the Russian (and others’) involvements in the Baltic states, the stocks of the people living in those states have remained reasonably constant, at least the bulk of them. But in the case of the piece of land collectively called Xinjiang, for a lot of the tribes who once had roamed there, many of their stocks have been absorbed into this all inclusive entity called Chinese, even if one takes Uighurs out of it.

      Second, to me it’s the most important difference. Unlike in the Baltic states, most of the large cities in Xinjiang have been built largely by non-Uighurs. It’s kind of like Los Angeles — sure you may be able to make a case that Mexicans can claim the land, but the city is an American city.

    53. Shane9219 Says:

      @Otto Kerner #51

      Your comparison is not accurate in history nor appropriate to the territory composition of China.

      Baltic states had been a non-Russian ruled entity in one form or another until 18th century when Russian empire gained its control. Then these states became sovereign nations after World War I.

      Once a region became sovereign under modern terms (with or without a prior claimant state), but then lose its sovereign to another state. Then it has an inherent right to resume its sovereign so long the prior claimant state did not object. This is one applicable case of self-determination according to international law.

      The fundamental difference on Xinjiang is that

      1) China has its long historical territory claim over Xinjiang that overrides any counter claim by so-called “East Turkestan Republic”

      2) China never recognizes any so-called “East Turkestan Republic” in any form and shape, and later took steps to resume its sovereign claim.

      These two basic points are upheld by international law. Period.

      If what you have suggested is applicable under international law, many ‘hostle’ foreign states would have a totally different opinion on Xinjiang, long before what you can bring up this Baltic states example.

    54. rolf Says:

      What do you think about the True Xinjiang site at http://www.truexinjiang.com ?

      May be “What’s wrong with Chinese propaganda/information?” should be a thread on this forum.

    55. raventhorn4000 Says:

      Chinese state media is very unsophisticated.

      They sound like propaganda even they are being genuine.

      (on their defense, they are talking to the Chinese public. But even the Chinese public has gotten more sophisticated. So they need to change.)

      Learn from the West, bury exaggerations and distortions in democratic slogans and innuandos.

      (Of course, Western Media are sounding more and more unsophisticated in propaganda. Making it so easy for Chinese to spot them.)

    56. Shane9219 Says:

      “In accordance with PRC’s affirmative action policies towards ethnic minorities, all non-Han ethnic groups are subjected to different rules and are usually allowed to have two children in urban areas, and three or four in rural areas. Han Chinese living in rural areas, also, are often permitted to have two children.”


    57. Otto Kerner Says:


      I think you make potentially good points. I plead ignorance on how accurate the differences are. I know there have been some demographic changes in the Baltics; for instance, the once mighty Livonians are now a dying breed; but I don’t know much about it. As for Xinjiang, I thought much of southern Xinjiang has been stably Uighur-inhabited for hundreds of years. Regarding the cities, there certainly are important cities in Xinjiang that were not founded by China, such Khotan and Kashgar.

    58. raventhorn4000 Says:

      That’s an interesting side issue: WHY was Urumqi the place of riot?

      While one could argue that Urumqi was the place with the highest amount of mix of Han ethnicity influx, and highest amount of cultural change, Urumqi was not the historical hotspot for riots and ethnic tensions.

      Urumqi is also where Uighur living standards is probably the highest among all the cities in Xinjiang. Where other Xinjiang cities there are typically lower average income level.

      Historically, Cities near the Western border are the trouble spots for protests. Uighur poor populations are higher near the border.

      *So why Urumqi?

      The answer is very likely to be pointing toward Terrorist tactics.

      Border towns are heavily guarded by PLA troops. Urumqi in comparison has actually less police/military presence per population than most cities in Xinjiang.

      Urumqi also has the greatest number of non-Uighur population. If one plans to cause significant collateral damage to non-Uighur civilians, and impose the greatest psychological terror, Urumqi is an ideal choice for a soft target in Xinjiang.

    59. huaren Says:


      I’d just like to pose this question to everyone here: in the long run, is it better for societies to desegregate?

      Should Hawaii enforce a polulation ratio?

      Should California?

      What’s the right balance?

      If we don’t agree on this, I guarantee you we are not going to agree on our views about population control in Xinjiang.

    60. raventhorn4000 Says:

      In the long run, it’s better for the World to desegregate.

    61. Steve Says:

      @ huaren: My opinion per your questions:
      1) Yes, desegregation over the long run is better.
      2) No, Hawaii should not enforce a population ratio nor can it by law.
      3) No, California should not enforce a population nor can it by law.
      4) What’s the right balance? That depends on the situation. Can an American Indian reservation control population ratios on its land? Sure. Should it? Sure. Can a country control raw immigration numbers? Absolutely. I personally think the USA should slow down immigration since we’ve taken on so many new immigrants over the past 30 years and need to digest what we have for cultural reasons. However, anyone who immigrates to the States can live anywhere they want, excluding Indian Reservations.

      So the question in Xinjiang becomes, why is the government encouraging immigration to a region with high unemployment and ethnic tension and why is the government encouraging emigration from the region for young women to work in factories on the coast? Should the government restrict relocation from other parts of China until the current ethnic ratios adjust to each other and end the segregation between the groups? I don’t know the answers to those questions. But it seems as if the current “solution” isn’t working too well.

    62. huaren Says:

      Hi raventhorn4000, Steve,

      I think desegragation in the long run is better also. Hopefully majority of the world think this way as well.

      Hi Steve,

      I agree with your view about Hawaii and California. Your view about the American Indian is interesting. I understand the legal part. The “should” part – is that because their numbers have dwindled towards “extinction”? The number of Hawaiian “pure bloods” have dwindled too.

      Regarding your second paragraph, this is my view:

      “why is the government encouraging immigration to a region with high unemployment and ethnic tension and why is the government encouraging emigration from the region for young women to work in factories on the coast?”

      I haven’t done much homework on the unemployment issue. I saw a report from the Chinese government that by the end of 2004, unemployment rates was 3.8%. Could you share credible information about Xinjiang’s current unemployment rate?

      I also know that China has a “go west” development plan – to even out the economic growth between the coastal regions with the inland poorer regions. That policy should be lauded by all.

      If you looked at what happend to Hawaii and Alaska – if the European Americans didn’t go in to help develop the local economy (plantations, tourism, oil) initially, I strongly believe the race issue within these places would be extremely pronounced today due to uneven standards of living.

      Was it a massive migration of European Americans into these areas? Yes. In fact, in Hawaii, the European Americans even brought in the Japanese, the Chinese, and other minorities which the Hawaiians resented as well.

      Regarding the government’s policy for Uyghur women to relocate to work in factories elsewhere – I am not sure I buy that as a government policy. That sounds illogical to me as a policy.

      I agree – given the resentment that exists, for those who resent, immigration of Han Chinese into the region furthers the divide. There is an important nuance. I can tell you, Shanghainese absolutely resent the migrant workers coming in from other parts of China. We ought to be careful not to lump together these “resents” under the same umbrella.

      If longer term desegration is the goal, and if Han immigration into Xinjiang gives the region a much needed boost in developing its economy (because the Han immigrant/businesses will be able to tap into the capital markets in Shanghai, etc lot better), then I think the key issue is the short term ethnically based pent-up resentment stemming from ignorance on all sides.

      I’d argue this is similar to what transpired in Hawaii.

    63. raventhorn4000 Says:

      I don’t know if Shanghainese “absolutely resent” migrant workers. Shanghai had migrant workers coming in for a long long time. Some of us lament the lack of migrant workers in some old traditional Shanghai lives, like the old “street food vendors” that are no longer so prevalent and cheap.

      Shanghai farmer markets depend on “countryside” people who earn money by bringing provincial produce, etc.

      Hell, Shanghai also depended on Uighurs who add to Shanghai’s culture.

      *Maybe some Shanghainese are narrow minded to have some superiority complex, but not all of us.

      As for relocation and desegregation, Speaking as a Shanghainese whose ancestors were from all over Eastern Chinese provinces, I would say, I would not be here, if my ancestors didn’t relocate and desegregate with other Chinese.

      We are 1.2 Billion Chinese People with over 4000 years of history. We had our shares of wars and peace.

      Getting along is not that hard. We had a long history of it, without killing ourselves (too much).

      We don’t need to be geniuses, humanitarians, or even Democrats to do so.

    64. raventhorn4000 Says:

      Many People didn’t know if Chinese could have handled the drastic economic changes in the last 30 years.

      But here we are.

      On balance, things changed, some good, some bad. People got accustomed to the changes.

      I do not believe that minorities cannot handle the change.

      In fact, I believe, the inevitable frictions are necessary part of learning to accept change, in every country.

    65. Otto Kerner Says:


      The reason that the Indian nations should regulate immigration onto their territory is the same as the reason that the United States or any other nation should regulate immigration.

    66. Charles Liu Says:

      Otto, didn’t we take the Native American’s land and stuffed them in tiny, desolate pockets of reservation?

      Surely you are not suggesting the Chinese do to Uyghurs what we do to the NA, so they too can claim “Uyghurs regulate immigration”?

    67. huaren Says:

      Hi raventhorn4000, #63,

      Oops, I didn’t mean to be so calous in my statement about Shanghainese “absolutely hate” migrant workers. Actually, what I really wanted to say China has a lot of “immigration” goin on all over the place, and people naturally resent new comers. This type of “resent” should be distinguished as I see those on other side of the debate tend to not.

      Anyways, thx for the correction and your views – interesting usually!

    68. Otto Kerner Says:

      @Charles Liu,

      Non sequitur alert! Non sequitur alert!

      Also, I would direct your attention to Steve’s comment #27. If I had written that comment, it would have been addressed to you by name.

    69. real name Says:

      one child related question (hi, raventhorn, aren’t you from shanghai?)
      just now i was reading one comment at another forum:
      “girl from shanghai said me her big company has department which redistributes extra-child permits received from goverment to employees”
      for me it looks not very realistic that company will decide who will have more children
      (also in this article i see general rules for everyone)
      or does it mean even you fulfil rules you still need something more than formal admit?

    70. raventhorn4000 Says:

      I have never heard of “companies” “redistributing” extra-child permits, especially not in Shanghai.

      “Companies”, even state owned companies have no such authority to allocate extra child “permits”. Couples must petition to the government directly for exemption from the 1 child policy.

      And approvals are done on case by case basis, not for “companies”.

      I don’t even know what these “permits” would look like.

    71. raventhorn4000 Says:

      I am a Only child, but I was born before 1979, when the 1 child policy went into effect.

      My parents, being academics, knew long before, that having too many kids is bad for China at that time. They voluntarily decided to only have 1 child.

      Even before 1979, Chinese government began to give incentives for couples to have 1 child. Stipends for school books, etc.

      I kept my certificate of “1 Child status”, issued by the Shanghai city government, because my parents did the right thing for China, even though they were always critical of CCP, (My father was locked up in jail during the Cultural Revolution for political activities. He was lucky, he got out in 1 month.)

      I give thanks and respect to my parents, who say the right things, and do the right things.

    72. Steve Says:

      @ R4K: Just curious… do you refer to your cousins as your brothers and sisters? A friend of mine in Shanghai who was part of the one child era always did so. She had so many cousins that it was like a substitute for her. I know she wants to have two children when she marries so now that the policy has changed, she should be pretty content.

    73. raventhorn4000 Says:

      Yes, I do.

      I have 8 cousins on my father side of the family, and 3 cousins on my mother side. We all call each other brothers and sisters.

    Leave a Reply