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Coalitions of Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hong Kongers call for boycott of Beijing Olympics

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A group of coalitions representing Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hongkongers issued a statement Monday, demanding that National Olympic Committees, Olympic athletes and sponsors boycott the upcoming Beijing Olympics. They’re calling for the boycott because “participating in the Beijing Olympic Games at this time would be tantamount to endorsing China’s genocide against the Uyghur people, and legitimizing the increasingly repressive policies of the totalitarian Chinese regime.”

Among the sponsors of the statement are World Uyghur Congress, Campaign for Uyghurs, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibet Action Institute, We The Hongkongers, Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, China Against the Death Penalty, and Keep Taiwan Free.

In the statement, the coalitions pointed out that the U.S. State Department has already recognized the situation with Uyghurs in China as a genocide. Secretary Pompeo made the announcement in January.

Besides genocide, the statement also claimed the People’s Republic of China has “illegally occupied Tibet,” “implemented a draconian National Security Bill that effectively criminalizes protest” in Hong Kong, “put down with force” protests by Southern Mongolians and engaged in “geopolitical bullying of Taiwan.”

Previously, the International Olympic Committee claimed that by hosting the Olympics in 2008, the situation in China would get better. Senior IOC member Richard Pound claimed in 2004 the decision “was made in the hope of improvement in human rights and, indeed, the Chinese themselves said that having the games would accelerate progress in such matters.” But, over 15 years later, the U.S. still determined genocides were happening there.

AP News interviewed Tibetan Action Institute’s Lhadon Tethong, who was deported from China in 2007 for her activism. “The situation where we are now is demonstrably worse that it was then,” Tethong said in the interview. “If the games go ahead, then Beijing gets the international seal of approval for what they are doing.”

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism

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Pope Francis calls for universal ban on ‘so-called surrogate motherhood’

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Pope Francis called for a universal ban on surrogacy, likening the practice as an unborn child “turned into an object of trafficking.”

“I consider despicable the practice of so-called surrogate motherhood, which represents a grave violation of the dignity of the woman and the child, based on the exploitation of situations of the mother’s material needs,” Francis said in a speech to the Holy See on Monday.

The “uterus for rent” process, as Francis has called it, was estimated to bring in $14 billion in the U.S. in 2022, and is projected to grow to a $129 billion market by 2032. National Review reports Individual surrogacies can cost anywhere from $60,000 to $200,000 plus in the U.S. Rising infertility rates, an increase in the number of fertility clinics, and “sedentary lifestyles” contribute to surrogacy’s recent popularity, according to Global Market Insights.

“A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Surrogacy is already banned in many European countries. In the United States, commercial surrogacy, or for-profit surrogacy, is legal in some states, and the practice has been used by celebrities who are very public with their decision to use surrogacy.

Altruistic surrogacy, the method by which a woman carries another person’s child for no official compensation, is legal in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, South Africa, Greece, and Iceland, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The speech was about threats to peace and human dignity. “A child is always a gift and never the basis of a commercial contract,” Francis continued. “Consequently, I express my hope for an effort by the international community to prohibit this practice universally.”

Francis also listed Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war, climate change, and increased weapons production as great threats to peace on Monday.

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