We all know the story. Chinese kiddies wanted freedom so they staked out Tienanmen Square. The Chinese Communist Party shot them instead and drew up a new social contract that promised capitalism with Chinese characteristics in return for permanent CCP dictatorship.
That’s the same deal you’re being offered today. Before you decide whether you want to take it, consider Hong Kong. Does it like the deal being offered?
No. Which has led to this today, via CBS:
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tried Sunday to defuse the rapidly growing fallout over his deleted tweet that showed support for Hong Kong anti-government protesters, saying he didn’t intend to offend any of the team’s Chinese fans or sponsors.
A short time after Morey posted that statement, the NBA said it was “regrettable” that the deleted tweet offended many in China. It followed several companies in China, including some of the NBA’s major business partners there, lashing out over Morey’s original tweet.
And the fallout has exploded, via Sinocism:
I recognize our initial statement left people angered, confused or unclear on who we are or what the NBA stands for. Let me be more clear.
Over the last three decades, the NBA has developed a great affinity for the people of China. We have seen how basketball can be an important form of people-to-people exchange that deepens ties between the United States and China.
At the same time, we recognize that our two countries have different political systems and beliefs. And like many global brands, we bring our business to places with different political systems around the world.
But for those who question our motivation, this is about far more than growing our business.
Values of equality, respect and freedom of expression have long defined the NBA — and will continue to do so. As an American-based basketball league operating globally, among our greatest contributions are these values of the game…
It is inevitable that people around the world — including from America and China — will have different viewpoints over different issues. It is not the role of the NBA to adjudicate those differences.
However, the NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues. We simply could not operate that way.
“We’re strongly dissatisfied and oppose Adam Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right to freedom of expression,” CCTV said in a statement. “We believe that any remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech.”
The broadcaster is also reviewing all its cooperation and exchanges involving the NBA, said the statement posted to CCTV Sports’ official social media account.
Silver is going to Shanghai on Wednesday and said he hopes to meet with officials and some of the league’s business partners there in an effort to find some sort of common ground….
“I’m hoping that together Yao Ming and I can find an accommodation,” Silver said. “But he is extremely hot at the moment, and I understand it.”..
“How can it be possible to carry out exchanges and cooperation with China without knowing China’s public opinion?” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday. “NBA’s cooperation with China has been going on for quite a long time, so for what should be said and what should be done, they know best.”
But the NBA may be more strongly positioned to push back than other U.S. businesses that have run afoul of the Chinese government. It’s the most powerful sports league in the country and plays such an outsize role in local sporting culture that China without the NBA is increasingly unimaginable. Shortly before he became president, in fact, Xi Jinping went to a Lakers game in Los Angeles.
It was a useful reminder of how much both sides of this dispute rely on each other: China is a huge market for any enterprise, but there’s only one NBA. There are other hotels, airlines and clothing brands. NBA basketball is irreplaceable.
The league’s business in the country is worth more than $4 billion as of 2018, or $133 million to each NBA franchise, according to Forbes.
The Nets were set to make an appearance at the New World Experimental Primary School in Shanghai in a court refurbishment ceremony, however a few hours before, the NBA abruptly sent out an email stating the event was cancelled.
Sources have confirmed that the event was cancelled by the government and not the NBA.
Vivo, in a statement published on social media platform Weibo, said it is strongly dissatisfied with Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey’s comments on Hong Kong and the NBA’s stance on the matter.
Anta said in a statement on social media platform Weibo the company opposes any action that harms China’s interests and was dissatisfied with the comments by the Houston Rockets and NBA executives
in which Ben discovers that TikTok may now be censoring searches for “火箭”, the Chinese name of the Houston Rockets
China is trying to censor the Houston Rockets because of Hong Kong. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if on opening night in Staples Center the NBA fanbase made a collective demonstration against censorship by wearing “STAND WITH HONG KONG” T-Shirts?
Comment: 31k raised so far, when will GoFundMe be attacked? And what if fans do this for opening night of Joe Tsai’s Brooklyn Nets?
As his nation’s first (and still only) NBA star, Yao Ming made basketball relevant in China. Now, as chairman of the CBA, he wants to make Chinese basketball relevant across the world and ensure that he’s not the country’s last export.
This has now mushroomed into South Park as well, via Hollywood Reporter:
After the “Band in China” episode mocked Hollywood for shaping its content to please the Chinese government, Beijing has responded by deleting all clips, episodes and discussions of the Comedy Central show.
South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone probably saw this coming, and to their credit, simply didn’t care.
The most recent episode of South Park, “Band in China,” has been generating loads of media attention for its sharp critique of the way Hollywood tends to shape its content to avoid offending Chinese government censors in any way whatsoever.
Now, those very same government censors, in the real world, have lashed back at South Park by deleting virtually every clip, episode and online discussion of the show from Chinese streaming services, social media and even fan pages.
A cursory perusal through China’s highly regulated internet landscape shows the animated series conspicuously absent everywhere it recently had a presence. A search of the Twitter-like social media service Weibo turns up not a single mention of South Park among the billions of past posts. On streaming service Youku, owned by internet giant Alibaba, all links to clips, episodes and even full seasons of the show are now dead.
South Park’s answer brings thew whole sad sack of shit together today:
You gotta lower your ideals of freedom if you wanna suck on the warm teat of China. #southpark23
— South Park (@SouthPark) October 7, 2019
And into gaming, via VOX:
Activision Blizzard, one of America’s biggest gaming companies, just bowed to Chinese censorship in a disturbing way: suspending a professional player of Hearthstone, its digital card game, over a statement supporting the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests.
The offending commentary from Chung Ng Wai, a Hong Kong-based player who goes by the name “Blitzchung,” came during an official interview on Sunday held after he won a match in the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament, the highest level of competition in the game.
Chung said “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” — a protest slogan in the city — while wearing goggles and a face mask, items commonly donned by protestors to conceal their identity. The protests, which began over an extradition law, have morphed into a broad-based demand to protect the semi-autonomous city’s democratic political system from mainland China’s attempts to exert control over it.
On Tuesday, Blizzard came down hard on Chung. In an official statement on Hearthstone’s blog, the company announced that it would be suspending Chung for a year, forcing him to forfeit thousands of dollars in prize money from 2019 and firing the casters (commentators) who conducted the interview.
This is a big deal.
Blizzard, who created (among other things) World of Warcraft, is a massive company. It brought in about $7.5 billion in revenue in 2018. Like the NBA, which has rebuked the Houston Rockets’ general manager over a pro-Hong Kong tweet, Blizzard is not merely trying to operate within the confines of Chinese censorship but acting as its agent.
The non-Chinese Hearthstone player base is furious with Blizzard; the game’s subreddit is full of longtime players vowing to quit the game in protest. Count me as one of them.
The question must be asked, can the CCP control the entire world in the way that has succeeded in controlling its own people?
I can imagine the kowtowing traitors in Canberra nodding that “yes” it can. There’s some coverage of these issues in the Aussie media today but not what they deserve given how directly they impact the Australian national interest so there is some justification in this view. The Australian elite are captured by the great Chinese bribe.
But can the CCP succeed everywhere else? Obviously not.
So, the lesson here is not that the CCP should be feared. It is that grovelling to it only delivers what it wants. Moreover, if single tweet from some relatively unknown bloke can disrupt an entire industry then the sensitivity of the CCP is so extreme that you’ll never succeed in pleasing it enough and the sanctions will come regardless.
In short, you are giving away everything for nothing in return.