China censors NBA Game After Player Criticizes Regime
The Chinese government scrubbed all footage of the Boston Celtics’ opening game from the Tencent Sports app Thursday after Celtics Center Enes Kanter criticized President Xi Jinping and the regime’s treatment of Tibet.
Given the fact that Tencent is China’s primary source of sports content distribution and the NBA is the most popular American sports league in China, the decision could impact millions of fans.
“I’m here to add my voice and speak out about what is happening in Tibet,” said Kanter, who is of Turkish heritage. “Under the Chinese government’s brutal rule, Tibetan people’s basic rights and freedoms are non-existent.”
Kanter also posted an image of himself wearing a shirt featuring the Dalai Lama and tweeted: “Dear Brutal Dictator XI JINPING and the Chinese Government Tibet belongs to the Tibetan people!” During the game, he worse sneakers emblazoned with the phrase “Free Tibet” that were designed by a China-born dissident and artist named Baidiucao.
Kanter is just “trying to get attention,” complained Wang Wenbin, a spokesman the Chinese Foreign Ministry. “We will never accept those attacks to discredit Tibet’s development and progress.”
This is not the first time Kanter’s outspokenness has made national headlines. In 2018, after he criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, China revoked Kanter’s passport and accused him of belonging to FETO (the Fethullah Terrorist Organization). Beijing is still trying to extradite him.
China invaded Tibet in 1950 and has controlled the region ever since. The Communist regime has denounced Tibet’s current spiritual leader – the Dalai Lama – as a separatist. The Dalai Lama, currently living in India, denies the accusation. Tibet is located in the northeast region of Xinjiang, where Chinese forces have been accused of detaining and torturing more than 1.5 million Uyghur Muslims.