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.