Update on Hong Kong, NBA Fiasco, and Syria Troop Withdrawal

Update on Hong Kong, NBA Fiasco, and Syria Troop Withdrawal

China expert Sean Lin joins us to discuss the Hong Kong mask ban, the NBA’s China problem, and the Trump administration’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.

A man walks past statues of NBA players Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, left, and Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers holding Chinese flags in the entrance of an NBA merchandise store in Beijing, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. Chinese state broadcaster CCTV announced Tuesday it will no longer air two NBA preseason games set to be played in the country. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)(Use courtesy SOH)

NBA-China Tensions

In the past week we’ve seen how censorship in China can affect free speech in the United States.

Last Friday, Daryl Morey, the general manager for the Houston Rockets, tweeted his support for the Hong Kong protestors. Several Chinese entities retaliated by cutting ties with the Rockets franchise.

Morey deleted his tweets on Sunday and apologized, while the NBA distanced themselves from Morey in a statement. But that backfired. And many in the United States called out the NBA for putting money over freedom of speech. So the NBA issued another statement on Tuesday trying to smooth things over with both sides.

South Park’s ‘Apology’

In contrast to the NBA’s handling of censorship in China is South Park. In a recent episode, one of the characters is jailed during a visit to China. He’s sent to a Chinese Communist Party re-education center, where he meets Winnie the Pooh and Piglet—which is funny because in 2017 pictures of Winnie the Pooh were actually blocked in China because people said the cartoon character looked like Chinese leader Xi Jinping. So now most South Park episodes are unavailable online in China.

South Park writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone issued a mock apology on Twitter:

“Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts,” the statement reads. “We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10! Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now China?”