Update at October 7, 2019 - The NBA self-censors for China

The NBA is a business - we know that.  But the NBA has been the professional league in which players and coaches have had the most freedom to speak their minds about issues of rights and morality.  Now, apparently, that freedom of speech stops at the Chinese border.  The New York Times has the story - NBA executive's Hong Kong tweet starts firestorm in China.

Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted an expression of support for protesters in Hong Kong.  This upset the Chinese Basketball Association, and some Chinese fans, who see Hong Kongers as only hooligans and destroyers of Chinese harmony.  Morey's tweet suggested that he "stands with Hong Kong."  He has now apologized to the NBA's largest international market.  The NBA has disavowed his comment, although it did suggest weakly that he had a right to say what he said.  Of course, the Chinese league commented with the old trope, that Morey had hurt the feelings of all Chinese people (who are basketball fans). 

Videos of police extremism in the Hong Kong subway
 

update at October 5 -  after months of protest and escalation, and some excessive violence by police and thugs against protesters, I am starting to admire the Hong Kong police a bit for their restraint.

That is certainly not the popular attitude among protesters and supporters in Hong Kong.  But the police are caught in situations more war-like than preserving-the-peace like. 

Video of destruction at subway stations  - there are many such videos from the last few months, but the extent of the damage is causing Hong Kong to shut down - more here and here. No one knows where this goes or at this point what the intent can be.  At some point, shutting down Hong Kong only plays into the hands of the government.  The mainland needs Hong Kong, that is true; but Hong Kongers need Hong Kong as well. 

Chinese Officials Threaten Mainland Parents of Student Attending Australian Protest

It is important to remember what we are dealing with.  Let's review -

From the Sydney Morning Herald, August 7 - Chinese authorities approached the family of an international student who participated in high-profile protests at an Australian university and warned his parents of the potential consequences of political dissent.

SFSU kills Confucius Institute Program

In May, 2019, San Francisco State University (SFSU) announced it was closing its Confucius Institute program that had been in operation since 2005.

Closure was not due to concerns about academic freedom, freedom of speech, or even any suspicion of ulterior motives on the part of the teachers sent from China.  In the SFSU case, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 denied federal funds for an intensive Chinese language programs if a university also hosted a Confucius Institute, and SFSU has an excellent DOD funded language program.

Sure, DOD can kill Confucius Institutes.  But DOD has nothing on me. I helped kill another SFSU Chinese program ten years earlier.  That was not on the basis of politics, but solely academic rigor.

Let's remember what we are dealing with ...

 News reporting is so uneven.  No mass shooting in the US is censored information in China - in fact, the news is prominently featured.   From China Xinhua News on Twitter -

China Xinhua News

@XHNews

 Shootings this weekend at a Texas Walmart and a bar in Ohio have left 30 people dead. Retail employees are taking to social media to say they're terrified to go to work. Workers fear getting shot at their workplace

Soft power?  We don’t need no stinking soft power.

 

Update at August 28 - the affronts to human dignity, scholarship, free speech, trade fairness and personal expression now seem to come on a daily basis.  China under Mr. Xi is really carving a new international image, and it is neither "peaceful rise" nor "responsible stakeholder in the community of nations." 

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