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Over the weekend, Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey sent out what would seem to the average person to be a pretty innocuous tweet: “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.”
Morey was voicing support for the ongoing pro-democracy protests taking place in the city. He certainly wasn’t expressing an uncommon opinion — American politicians on both sides of the aisle have also praised the historic protests. But China didn’t like Morey’s tweet. Presumably acting upon the demands of the Chinese government, Chinese businesses began pulling their NBA sponsorships, and Chinese broadcasters and streaming platforms threatened to stop airing NBA games altogether.
NBA - Statement - English - China - Morey
The NBA acted quickly, issuing one statement in English apologizing to China for Morey’s “regrettable” statement and one statement “translated” into Mandarin, which articulated something entirely different, according to ABC News — that the NBA was “extremely disappointed” with Morey’s “inappropriate” tweet that “severely hurt the feelings of Chinese fans.” Two of Morey’s best players on the Houston Rockets, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, also came out and publicly apologized, insisting, “We love China.”
Morey, of course, deleted the tweet and did what is typically required of sinners against social justice here in the United States — he genuflected towards the powers that be, offered a humiliating apology, and all but begged for the preservation of his career. But in this case, Morey wasn’t sinning against social justice, he was sinning against the powerful Chinese government, a brutal authoritarian regime that imprisons, tortures, and murders political dissidents, religious minorities, and anyone who dares promote democracy. Troublingly, this dictatorial power now appears to extend even into the U.S., with Morey’s public admonishment likely to have a chilling effect on any future high-profile criticism of the Chinese regime.
China - Actions - NBA - Response
But while China’s actions were to be expected, the NBA’s response was far more surprising. After...
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