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Uyghur Activists Cry Foul Over NBA’s Return To Chinese Audiences

  • China resumed broadcasting NBA games Wednesday after a 17 month hiatus. 
  • Uyghur activists have condemned the NBA’s decision to resume broadcasts in the authoritarian nation accused of committing crimes against humanity and genocide upon Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. 
  • NBA games were suspended by China’s censors following a tweet in support of Hong Kong protestors made by former Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey in October 2019.

Uyghur activists are calling the NBA’s commitment to human rights into question, following Communist China’s decision to resume broadcasting NBA games on Wednesday.

“The full return of the NBA to China shows, once again, how money has become, as ever, a new religion in the era of globalization,” Dr. Mamtimin Ala, a Uyghur representative of the unrecognized East Turkistan Government-in-Exile (ETGE), told the Daily Caller News Foundation on Friday.

Ala’s comments follow Chinese state media outlet Global Times’ announcement that China Central Television (CCTV) will broadcast a Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz game on Wednesday, after a 17 month hiatus.

Salih Hudayar, the elected prime minister EGTE, told the DCNF Uyghurs were frustrated with American and Western corporations, who, despite being shown significant evidence demonstrating China’s culpability in committing genocide, were nonetheless eager to “put profit over principles” and do business with the authoritarian nation.

“The NBA has shown its hypocrisy and willingness to ignore China’s genocide and crimes against humanity,” Hudayar said on Friday. “The problem is, it’s not just the NBA, but also Disney and other companies who hold a double standard on China’s genocide of the Uyghurs versus Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the NBA, but the league did not immediately respond for comment.

China notified the NBA it would resume broadcasts less than 24 hours before the game was to be played, according to a New York Times report.

China suspended broadcasting NBA games in the fallout of a now deleted tweet former Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey sent in October 2019.

Morey’s tweet, “fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” offered support for protestors who opposed the 2019 Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation Bill, which would have allowed for the extradition of supposed “criminals” to China proper.

Brooklyn Nets owner and Alibaba billionaire, Joe Tsai, as well as Lakers small forward, Lebron James, criticized Morey for his tweet in the aftermath.

“The problem is, there are certain topics that are third-rail issues in certain countries, societies and communities,” Tsai wrote in an open letter referencing Morey’s comment. “Supporting a separatist movement in a Chinese territory is one of those third-rail issues, not only for the Chinese government, but also for all citizens in China.”

James also challenged Morey, saying the general manager “wasn’t educated on the situation at hand,” before adding “many people could have been harmed not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually.”

Citing “personal reasons,” Morey ultimately left the Rockets in October 2020, according to ESPN.

While China’s censors are reportedly giving NBA games a “full return,” as opposed to a “temporary one,” according to the state media report, “the number of games broadcast will not be as many as before, and no more outside guest commentators will be invited,” former NBA reporter, Li Shuangfu, told the Global Times.

Furthermore, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers games are not at present slated to be broadcast, according to the Global Times report.

The Chinese state media report suggests that the 76ers and Celtics are not being broadcast because Morey had become general manager of the 76ers, while the outspoken China critic, Enes Kanter  Freedom, was a former center for the Celtics.

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