Chinese TV drops National Basketball Association games over Hong Kong tweet

Galtero Lara
Octubre 9, 2019

Meanwhile, a publicity event at a Shanghai primary school, at which Nets players and executives were set to appear on Tuesday afternoon, was cancelled two hours before its scheduled start.

National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner Adam Silver yesterday said that the league is not apologizing for Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's since-deleted tweet showing support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong, even after China's state broadcaster canceled plans to show a pair of pre-season games later this week. We too love money more than freedom and democracy.

The broadcaster indicated the decision was prompted by earlier remarks Silver made in Japan.

Silver said the League will protect its employees' right to free speech, to which the Chinese government and business community voiced their "strong dissatisfaction".

"We believe that any comments that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech", the station said on its social media account. Vivo had been a sponsor for the Lakers-Nets games in China.

"It's my hope that for our Chinese fans and our partners in China, they will see those remarks in the context of now a three-decade, if not longer, relationship".

"I think it's unfortunate", he said. "But if that's the consequences of us adhering to our values, we still feel it's critically important we adhere to those values". The Lakers were arriving there Tuesday.

Chinese state media accused NBA Commissioner Adam Silver of "willing to be another handy tool for USA interference" after he insisted the league would not apologise for a tweet supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. "Stand with Hong Kong". Activists saw that as a threat to the legal rights that Hong Kong residents have under the current "one country, two systems" framework.

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"The NBA has been in cooperation with China for many years", said ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a daily news briefing.

"How can it be possible to carry out exchanges and co-operation with China without knowing China's public opinion?"

Early NBA statements on the issue drew fire from United States critics as overly capitulating, setting the stage for Silver to settle matters in Tokyo.

Mr Silver responded again on Tuesday morning, with a statement saying: "It is inevitable that people around the world - including from America and China - will have different viewpoints over different issues".

Silver also responded to those criticizing the league's approach over the past several days, including some US lawmakers who have called for the league to take action - some even suggesting the league should cancel its games in China.

Silver also said he hopes basketball can continue be something that unifies the countries. "As an American-based basketball league operating globally, among our greatest contributions are these values of the game".

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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