This past week has seen an outrageous and shameful spectacle as Chinese censorship has moved the the American heartland.
International corporations have faced legal and financial pressure for years now, as they have to change their websites and apologize for listing Taiwan and Hong Kong as separate entities, or formally apologize for accidentally making reference to the Dalai Lama, but with the thirst for Chinese money, the conflict has now started to affect the American domestic market.
NBA team Houston Rocket’s manager Daryl Morey posted a tweet the other day, reading, “fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” this week, and has since deleted it.
The aftermath was a histrionic eruption from the depths of China, threatening to cut financial ties with the entire NBA over that post, which happened to be on a network, Twitter, that is already banned in China.
The NBA and Morey then quickly backpedaled, apologizing and stressing their love for China, ignoring the threats to American freedom of speech and the egregious human rights abuses of the CCP regime. In this, the NBA has finally shed its fake PCness, an image that it rallied behind during the black lives matter movement, in favor of Chinese cash.
In one major case in 2017, the NBA pulled out of a game in Charlotte because of a gendered bathroom controversy in North Carolina, and the league has offered significant leeway to players in expressing their political beliefs on domestic political issues, unlike the NFL. Yet, it seems like discussing human rights, in particular those regarding China, is one freedom too many.
An episode of the American TV show South Park last week outlined an almost identical episode of a rural American boy allowing his speech to be censored by a CCP officer, selling his freedom of expression for access to the lucrative Chinese market. The parallels are staggering in this real life playing out of a scripted parody, as the NBA is shamed.
American politicians, from both sides of the aisle, including Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Julian Castro have savaged the NBA for its cowardice and greed.
Recognize what’s happening here. People who don’t live in #China must either self censor or face dismissal & suspensions. China using access to market as leverage to crush free speech globally. Implications of this will be felt long after everyone in U.S. politics today is gone. https://t.co/Cx3tkWc7r6
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 8, 2019
TV networks,airlines,hotel chains,retailers & Hollywood already self censor.
Now private citizens risk losing their jobs if they offend China. https://t.co/DQOFdBkb1e
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 7, 2019
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 7, 2019
We’re better than this; human rights shouldn’t be for sale & the NBA shouldn’t be assisting Chinese communist censorship.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 7, 2019
China is using its economic power to silence critics—even those in the U.S.
The United States must lead with our values and speak out for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, and not allow American citizens to be bullied by an authoritarian government. https://t.co/87U4jgsAAp
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) October 7, 2019
Meanwhile, China has already retaliated, with state-TV network CCTV canceling the airing of all NBA pre-season games – all this for a single post, from a single team manager, on a network rendered completely inaccessible to Chinese citizens by draconian internet controls bred from totalitarian state paranoia.
Hong Kong citizens seemed shocked too by the weakness offered by the NBA and the US in general in the face of a greatly weakened China in recent months. CNN has suggested in recent days that Hong Kong is near its tipping point and that the government will likely step in to maintain an image of control. However, from all objective evidence, including the fact that the protests have already gone on much longer than the lead up to the Tiananmen massacre, there seems to be no indication that China has any interest in risking its political capital to influence Hong Kong when it is clear that China still maintains a monopoly of violence, preventing any real move towards Hong Kong independence.
Meanwhile, the president of the United States remains silent on this issue, just a week after publicly committing treason in asking an enemy state, China, to assist him in an election campaign, leaving whatever questionable moral guidance he could have given on this issue, the same week he abandoned our Kurdish allies to genocide, unspoken.
Staff writer: Ari B