The National Basketball Association (NBA) subjected an audience at Tuesday night’s game between the Washington Wizards and Los Angeles Clippers to a speech by Chinese Ambassador to America Qin Gang.
Capital One Arena broadcast a pre-recorded speech by Qin to the audience on Tuesday on the occasion of Lunar New Year – which the NBA referred to as “Chinese New Year,” despite it being a celebration observed throughout Asia – that also featured Chinese dance troupes, a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on a Chinese traditional instrument, and other activities “honoring Chinese culture.”
This official Chinese government appearance at what was billed as an apolitical sporting event follows years of efforts by both the NBA and the Communist Party to strengthen ties, resulting in the NBA profiting to the tune of billions of dollars. The NBA’s partnership with Chinese mega-streamer Tencent ensures that Chinese fans can watch government-censored versions of the competition in the United States.
The league’s eagerness to cooperate with government-friendly Chinese partners has elevated the profiles of individuals such as Alibaba founder and billionaire Joseph Tsai, owner of the Brooklyn Nets, who has used this platform to promote his authoritarian, pro-Beijing opinions in the league.
Ambassador Qin “congratulated NBA on its legendary 75th anniversary, hoping it will keep on getting better in the years to come,” according to the state-run Global Times. “He also noted that both the Wizards and the Clippers were special in the hearts of Chinese fans, as some famous Chinese players had once played for the two teams respectively.”
“Clearly, something is bigger than basketball,” the outlet quoted the ambassador as stating.
Qin also “wished both [Chinese and American] teams best performances in the Beijing 2022 [Winter Olympic Games],” promoting an event that human rights advocates have decried as the “Genocide Games” for honoring a country currently engaging in genocide against multiple ethnic minority populations.
The Winter Olympics are expected to begin on February 4 despite over a year of calls to boycott or relocate the event. In addition to condemnation of the genocide of the Uyghur people of East Turkistan, opponents of the Games note that Beijing is a dangerous place for athletes due to an ongoing, uncontrolled coronavirus outbreak; high levels of pollution; and potential repression against dissident athletes by the state. The Chinese government just last week warned athletes they will face police action if they express any disagreement with the regime while present at the Olympics.
This is an excerpt from Breitbart.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.