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Population statistics published by the Chinese government show a sharp decline in birth rates in Xinjiang amid reports of mass internment and population control of ethnic minorities in the region. The region's growth rate shrank by around two-thirds within two years, according to the figures which run up until 2019.

Between 2017 and 2019, the birth rate in Xinjiang almost halved, dropping from 15.88 per cent in 2017 to 8.14 in 2019, according to an annual report compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics of China.

Comment: 2017 was when China opened its involuntary "vocational" centers in Xinjiang.

China's national average rate, meanwhile, only decreased by around 2 per cent in the same period.

The same figures detailed in the China Statistical Yearbook show population growth rate in the region shrank by two-thirds from 2017 to 2019, dropping from 11.40 per cent to 6.13 in the first year, and to 3.69 per cent in the second.

The drop - noted and visualised by Twitter user John Stone - represents a marked change in Xinjiang's previous population growth rate, which held steady from 2010 to 2017, fluctuating between 10 and 11 per cent.

The rate reflects the population growth for both Han Chinese and Uighur Muslims in the region, suggesting that the decline for the Uighur population may be more drastic than officials numbers depict, Stone tweeted.

In comparison, China's national average dropped from 5.32 to 3.34 per cent from 2017 to 2019.

Xinjiang, labelled by Chinese authorities as "an autonomous region" in the country's northwest, has a population of around 25 million people, around half of which are Uighur Muslims.

In January, state-backed Global Times hit out at an analysis from German China scholar Adrian Zenz which reported on a drop in natural births and alleged forced sterilisations. The tabloid said the data was from "unknown sources" and led to "wrong points and absurd logic," as they pointed to an overall population rise in Xinjiang. However, the data set uncovered by Stone was published by the Chinese authorities themselves.

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