By Jose Nino
Oct 9, 2019
The NBA’s decision to side with China after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted an image “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” last Friday has caused a national stir.
The tweet was deleted after the communist regime demanded a retraction. Various Chinese businesses withdrew from partnerships with the team as well.
Rockets player James Harden and teammate Russell Westbrook apologized for Morey’s statement saying “We apologize. We love China.”
We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals’ educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.
Everyday Americans have not been so apologetic to the Communist regime, however.
At a pre-season game between the Washington Wizards and the Guangzhou Long Lions, several attendees protested in favor of Hong Kong demonstrators.
One individual, Jon Schweppe had his “Free Hong Kong” sign confiscated during the basketball game.
Just had our “Free Hong Kong” sign confiscated at Capitol One Arena at the Wizards game against the Guangzhou Long Lions. #FreeHongKong #NBA #Censorship pic.twitter.com/on1O4QdBUi
— Jon Schweppe (@JonSchweppe) October 9, 2019
Another individual, Patrick Hedger, a research fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, held up a sign in protest during the national anthem before the game started.
He screamed “Free Hong Kong!” and followed up by yelling “We will not bow down to Communist oppression!” as the national anthem played.
At the end of the Chinese national anthem and during the silence before the singing of the Star Spangled Banner, a protestor screams “Free Hong Kong!” while holding a sign. He walks out of the arena peacefully, followed by an usher. pic.twitter.com/H9JrZHb9FO
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) October 9, 2019
This NBA incident could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for many Americans in waking up to the rising threat of China.
Fresh off of celebrating its 70th anniversary, the Chinese regime is trying to whitewash its track record of democide and oppression. Although it made some market reforms in the 1980s, the country still remains politically repressive and engages in trade practices that harm American interests.
Corporations bowing down to Chinese censorship show how much power the Chinese Communist Party has these days. D.C. policymakers must work to contain China’s growing influence by re-negotiating trade agreements and putting more pressure on the communist country to comply with international law.