Abortions, IUDs and sexual humiliation: Muslim women who fled China for Kazakhstan recount ordeals

Gulzira Mogdyn, 38, pauses as she tells her story in a cafe on the outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan. She said Chinese authorities aborted her fourth child in January 2018 after she returned to China from a visit to Kazakhstan. (Joel van Houdt/For The Washington Post)

By Amie Ferris-Rotman
October 5 , 2019

ALMATY, Kazakhstan — The women have found refuge from Chinese authorities across the border in Kazakhstan, their ancestral homeland. But they remain haunted by the stories of abuse they carry with them. 

Some said that they were forced to undergo abortions in China’s Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang, others that they had contraceptive devices implanted against their will while in detention. One reported being raped. Many said they were subjected to sexual humiliation, incidents that included being filmed in the shower and having their intimate parts rubbed with chile paste.

The allegations come as China expands a years-long crackdown on its Muslim minority, which includes not only Uighurs but also Kazakhs and other ethnic groups. While the experiences described could not be independently verified, local rights groups and lawyers say they are common — and reveal a wider pattern of abuse directed specifically against women, aimed at curbing their ability to reproduce.

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