photo from sfgate.com: Fans wait outside a hotel to catch a glimpse of players from the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers in Shanghai on Wednesday.
By Amaury Pi Gonzalez
CCTV (China Central Television) is China’s state television. They announced they are suspending all preseason games of the NBA in China. At the same time, they said they will immediately investigate all exchanges and co-operation involving the NBA. I’m not certain if the regular season games will also be suspended at this time.
This happened just days after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came to the defense of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who tweeted in support of the Hong Kong anti-government protests.
DEMONSTRATIONS: Why are people in Hong Kong protesting? They are also called the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill, and residents in Hong Kong were concerned that bill could subject them to extradition to the mainland by the Chinese communist central government. The Chinese government has described the protest as the “‘worst’ crisis in Hong Kong” since the handover in 1999 when the United Kingdom handed the colony of Hong Kong and returned control of that territory to China.
CHINA’S GOVERNMENT: China is ruled by a communist central government, they are among the biggest human rights violators in the world. Amnesty International has documented widespread human rights violations in China. Demonstrations and free speech is not allowed in China. Obviously, the Chinese government is very concerned with the demonstrations in Hong Kong as demonstrators have been killed, injured and arrested.
HUGE MARKET: As of 2018 the total population of the United States was 327 million people
According to official statistics, about 800 million Chinese watch NBA programming on TV and digital media in China.
Over 300 million people in China play basketball. Online engagement with the NBA is six times more popular in China than the three largest European soccer leagues
BIG BUSINESS: This is big business for the NBA, as no other country is more obsessed with the NBA and basketball than China, the most populous country in the world with 1.4 billion people.
DIFFERENCES: While here in the US, we have the rights to free speech, demonstrations against our government and many other freedoms that we have enjoyed for over two centuries — freedom that sometimes we take for granted — that is not allowed communist China.
One example: The environment is very much an issue worldwide. While China is the world’s biggest polluter, you will never see a pro-environment demonstration in that country. They are not allowed.
I do agree with what Mr. Daryl Morey said on his original tweet when he supported the demonstrations by the people in Hong Kong against the Chinese government as well as the recent statement by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Anybody who likes and enjoys freedom definitely agrees with both gentlemen.
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the vice president of the Major League Baseball Hispanic Heritage Museum and was a Spanish play by play announcer for the Golden State Warriors, and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com