China has extended a new family planning policy in its volatile Xinjiang province to include Muslim Uyghur minority, official media reported today. China has relaxed its four decades old one child policy last year to permit two children. The one child policy was confined to only the majority Han community which constitutes over 90 per cent of China’s population of 1.3 billion people. It excluded all minority communities including Muslims and Tibetans. However the new policy being implemented since July 28 in Xinjiang will now be included the Muslims and other minorities too, state-run Global Times reported.
The province started implementing a uniform family planning policy for all ethnic groups, a move which Chinese analysts said will promote ethnic equality. According to a revised regulation on Xinjiang’s family planning policy, regional ethnic minorities could no longer enjoy as lenient a family planning policy, it said.
It states that starting July 28, all urban couples in the region have been allowed to have two children, while rural couples can have three. The move was stated to be part of series of stringent actions being taken by China to deal with the volatile province where over Turkik speaking Uygurs who constitute the majority were restive about massive migrations of Hans to their resource rich area.
China blames separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement, (ETIM) for the recurring attacks and imposed several measures including restricting wearing veils by Muslim women. As per 2016 official figures Xinjiang’s population stood at 23.98 million. Xinjiang’s regional statistics bureau figures stating that the population census in 2010 showed that there were 8.7 million Han people in Xinjiang, accounting for 40.1 per cent of the total, and an increase of 16.77 percent compared to the 2000 survey, the Global Times reported.
Meanwhile, around 13 million minorities (majority of them are Uyghurs) live in Xinjiang, an increase of 19.12 per cent. The report said the regional government had previously allowed urban Han couples to have one child while urban minority couples could have two. That meant rural minority couples could have three children, one more than rural Han couples.
“The change reflects the country’s respect for ethnic equality. This move should be expanded to other places, especially in minority areas, depending on local conditions Huang Wenzheng, a specialist in demographics said.
La Disheng, a professor at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Xinjiang regional committee said this policy is consistent with China’s ethnic policy of equality of all nationalities in the region.