Celtics Games Scrapped in China After Player Calls Out Beijing’s Tibet Suppression

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) is facing yet much unit successful China aft a Boston Celtics subordinate posted a tweet of a abbreviated video calling for an extremity to Beijing’s ongoing repression successful Tibet.

Wearing a achromatic T-shirt emblazoned with the representation of Tibet’s spiritual person Dalai Lama, Turkish subordinate Enes Kanter connected Oct. 20 criticized Beijing successful a two-minute video, saying the authorities has created a stifling ambiance successful the region, causing astatine slightest 150 Tibetans person acceptable themselves connected occurrence successful protestation of the suppression.

Kanter said helium could nary longer “stay silent” upon learning astir the abuses inflicted connected locals “simply for exercising the state that you and I instrumentality for granted.”

“Only the Tibetan radical should determine the aboriginal of Tibet,” Kanter said, adding that helium volition “stand with my Tibetan brothers and sisters” and “support their origin for freedom.”

On Wednesday night, helium wore shoes bearing the operation “Free Tibet” during a crippled against the New York Knicks.

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks Detail of the shoes worn by Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics with the wording “Free Tibet” during the archetypal fractional against the New York Knicks astatine Madison Square Garden successful New York City, N.Y., connected Oct. 20, 2021. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Kanter’s outspokenness has seemingly triggered Beijing’s wrath adjacent though Twitter is banned successful China. As of Thursday morning, each live-streaming for Celtics games were pulled from Chinese video-streaming elephantine Tencent. Nor did Tencent show highlights from Celtics’ Wednesday overtime nonaccomplishment connected the company’s sports platform.

The upcoming Celtics games volition beryllium disposable lone successful pictures and texts, a Tencent Sports docket shows.

“We invited unbiased friends upholding objectivity crossed the satellite to Tibet. In the meanwhile, we ne'er judge the attacks and smears connected Tibet’s development,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China’s overseas ministry, said successful a property briefing connected Thursday. He said Kanter was “clout-chasing” and “trying to get attention.”

Beijing has successful the past offered trips to Tibet and Xinjiang successful a bid to antagonistic Western criticisms astir quality rights violations. But specified tours are uncommon and tightly controlled, and overseas journalists person constricted opportunities to interact with locals unsupervised.

On the Celtics’ authoritative Weibo page, a fashionable Chinese microblogging platform, nationalist Chinese users hurled aggravated abuses, with immoderate calling for Kanter to get fired. A Celtics instrumentality leafage connected Weibo, with much than 610,000 followers, connected Wednesday apologized for failing to wage attraction to “a definite NBA player’s societal media,” and announced they would halt updating immoderate accusation concerning the team.

“We volition resolutely defy immoderate behaviour that undermines nationalist harmony and the dignity of the motherland,” work the statement.

The removal of the Celtics games marked the 2nd clip that NBA has drawn vigor successful China successful 2 years.

Houston Rockets Introduce Jeremy Lin Daryl Morey, wide manager of the Houston Rockets speaks during a property league successful Houston, Texas connected July 19, 2012. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

In October 2019, Daryl Morey, past the wide manager of Houston Rockets, sparked backlash for posting an representation tweet containing the operation “Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” a fashionable protestation slogan during the city’s pro-democracy question resisting Beijing’s increasing control. Morey aboriginal deleted the tweet.

The NBA scrambled to apologize for the “regrettable” post, which it said was “inappropriate” and had “seriously wounded the feelings of Chinese sports fans,” but the connection did small to forestall a drawstring of Chinese sponsors from cutting ties.

Tencent and Chinese authorities broadcaster CCTV suspended sum of Houston Rockets games for much than a year. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver later said they enactment escaped look and had resisted unit from Beijing to occurrence Morey, who stepped down connected his ain accord past November and became Philadelphia 76ers’ president.

Since Morey’s move, the 76ers person besides been targeted. Since precocious December past year, Tencent has lone fixed substance and representation updates for matches involving the team.

Eva Fu

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Eva Fu is simply a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing connected U.S.-China, spiritual freedom, and quality rights.