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Why the NBA Apologized to China over Daryl Morey's Tweet About Hong Kong (nytimes.com)
108 points by konstructorui 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 82 comments



It's very interesting that "non-respectable" Trey Parker and Matt Stone responded in the morally correct way and the NBA decides to kiss the feet of despots.

Pretty disgusting really. It really shows that the dream of liberalization of China is dead, some thought that we could do it but irony strikes again and instead of opening up China our corporations and institutions have become infected and we're in the midst of The Reverse Opium War.


Here is the episode mocking China that got South Park banned in China.

https://southpark.cc.com/full-episodes/s23e02-band-in-china


I love South Park and I'm extremely impressed by the morals the show has.

I think we all should boycott the NBA and Blizzard.


funnily, this episode is also banned in France


It's not particularly this episode and it's not banned. You can't watch any South Park episode on South Park Studio in France because the streaming rights for the country have been sold to another company.


Imagine if businesses and sports organizations didn't get into politics, no matter which side.

>the dream of liberalization of China is dead, some thought that we could do it but irony strikes again and instead of opening up China our corporations and institutions have become infected and we're in the midst of The Reverse Opium War.

Right, a US company issuing an apologetic press release to continue profiting off China is just like what China faced after the Opium Wars.


I think I wasn't clear, the Opium Wars reference was to the US and Canada's current opioid problem wherein the bulk of fentanyl is being imported to the US from China.

Given how tightly the Chinese government controls domestic drug production and distribution I'm very skeptical that this export operation is in-spite of Chinese government action, maybe at best they ignore it. That is what I was referencing, I think it is at least probable that the Chinese government tacitly condones the export of opioids to the US and don't lose much sleep over it. This was exactly the same thing that Britain did to China during the Opium Wars except that that also included military force whereas this is the black market approach that the US has traditionally used when they've done it.

To cut off a possible avenue of criticism, yes the US has done exactly the same thing in South America time and time again, that was wrong too.


You can draw something of a parallel between the British action before the Opium Wars and the current drug issues, though the British government were definitely involved and opium was a black market item.

Calling it a Reverse Opium War is ridiculous though, as China hasn't invaded, forced unequal treaties, or made the US cede Long Island.


> Given how tightly the Chinese government controls domestic drug production and distribution I'm very skeptical that this export operation is in-spite of Chinese government action, maybe at best they ignore it.

I think you give too much credit to that government apparatus.

China has over a billion people, and if you think their government is one big well-oiled machine of surveillance and oppression, that might be a bit naïve..

Illicit drug production has been a worldwide problem forever. It's logistically impossible to keep tabs (no pun intended) on every legit lab 24/7 and even more impossible to find and shut down every illegal operation, in any country, much less one with such a massive population and also with such a production-focused economy.


> It's very interesting that "non-respectable" Trey Parker and Matt Stone responded in the morally correct way and the NBA decides to kiss the feet of despots.

Creators of one of the most effective US-centric propaganda engines in recent times have an opinion that sides with the main-line US narrative that's parallel with every other op-ed article being blasted across other well-known US-centric propaganda engines.

Color me surprised.

To be clear : I have no dog in this fight personally; but South Park has been pretty obviously 'narratively - conveinent' for years. If you want to know what their opinion is going to be about a topic before the related episode just open up a page of the NY Times and radicalize the most popular op-ed opinion to the Nth.

'Team America'ify any article : bam , a new South Park episode.

Anyone paying attention during any of the Bush era wars can see this plain as day.

"Let's portray Bush as a total moron so that we can play off of public disdain for him, but let's depict his actions as successful and 'terrorists' as 'the bad guys' and the US as 'good guys' , don't want to rock the boat too bad." .

Talk about having your cake and eating it too, they get credit for being some sort of anti-PC badasses while toting the US main status-quo opinions.


You must be watching a different show than me. I've seen mostly critism of many American polcies. Of White middle America in particular. And of the hypocracy of so many positions.

I don't see any pro US propoganda. I guess I must be brainwashed. How is the episode about Amazon pro US? How is the episode about Disney corporate hypocracy pro US? How is the episode about hiring Mexican laborers pro US? Even the movie was all about how stupid the USA around censorship and how people get offended at bad words instead of bad actions. They did nothing but make fun of Bush in every episode their Bush-like character was in. They also made fun of Bush supporters showning how stupid they were in following him.


> I've seen mostly critism of many American polcies. Of White middle America in particular.

Isn't that very much aligned with the US media though? I don't know how much criticism of South Park holds true, I haven't watched it in years, but this doesn't strike me as a counter example. Also, they can be critical of some things inside the US and be aligned with US foreign policy at the same time, those aren't mutual exclusive.


I'll preface this by saying that I haven't watched the show in years.

Watching from outside the US it does feel pretty solidly pro US. The core message seems to be that sure, we have some dumb politicians and occasionally our huge companies do some dumb and evil shit, but that is the aberration. The Real America is made up of fundamentally Good People striving to do the Right Thing and that will always prevail over any temporary glitches in the system. All the criticisms they levy are the same criticisms being made at the time by all Good Americans.

The show is obviously made by two people who love their country despite/because of all its flaws and that clearly shines through.


I've paused to really think about this -- I think you may be taking the show very literally when it's not meant to be taken that seriously.

It does often have that surface-level message: Good people will always prevail, evil is a necessary part of the status quo, etc. But that's always part of the joke.

I don't think anyone leaves South Park episodes thinking "wow that is so true" and having introspective thoughts about our country. It's more like "what the fuck did I just watch" and "that's about right," dismissive of the average American lifestyle or unhappy with the problems we often face.

I'll keep that in mind though. Interesting perspective.


But that's always part of the joke.

Sure on one hand that's the joke, but I feel they never really subvert or question that joke (again with the caveat I really haven't seen much from the last ~10 seasons or so). As long as our heroes stay true to their Real American Values nothing bad can ever happen to them. Now I could be wrong, but the way that that message permeates everything the creators make feels genuine.


South Park would be a very strange kind of propaganda, if that's what it was. It marginalizes itself by being disgusting, whereas most propaganda tries to put itself in front of polite company (schools, etc.). It also has several levels of mockery, including mockery of itself, and propaganda doesn't risk mocking itself.


It marginalizes itself by being disgusting

Quite the opposite. By being "disgusting" it makes itself required viewing by every school child in the country to to prove how subversive they are.


Because political satire and propaganda are two different things, power and resistance.

I think you're overlooking the fact that understanding your audience and the issues of our times is a big part of good comedy.


Oh, you're one of those people that takes Team America literally.


They’re more so “Loyalty to comedy always. Loyalty to country, when it deserves it”


Here is a non-radical opinion --- You are an idiot.

Exactly. This is their audience, so of course they would say that.

It surprising how so many people on HN don't get that. No wonder they think Dropbox can be easily replaced with an SFTP service.


> No wonder they think Dropbox can be easily replaced with an SFTP service.

How is that false?


Here's the Nets owner's response, which adds a little more color to this already contentious issue.[0][1]

I don't see a way for the NBA to come out ahead on this. Chinese investment already drives a lot of business decisions for the League, and I doubt that a civics lesson for fans and players about Chinese territorial sovereignty is going to do anything to lower the temperature. Tsai's statement comes across as particularly caustic - making an implication that Morey's tweets call into question that territorial sovereignty in the same way that e.g. Japanese invasion did. As a sports fan, it's tough to remain objective here. On the one hand, Hong Kong will integrate - baring some major geopolitical course corrections, and probably a war. On the other, it's a little disturbing to see US sports figures - who otherwise are generally untouchable, for the most part - bend over backwards to make sure they don't sufficiently enrage China (looks like it's too late) over some tweets by a GM who is pretty well liked in the League.

As a meta point, I figure this is only the beginning and we'll continue to see China flex it's financial and population muscle abroad in ways that may seem hard to predict in advance, but are pretty obvious once they happen.

[0]https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2856965-nets-governor-jo... [1]https://www.facebook.com/100001583307192/posts/2653378931391...


> On the other, it's a little disturbing to see US sports figures - who otherwise are generally untouchable, for the most part - bend over backwards to make sure they don't sufficiently enrage China (looks like it's too late) over some tweets by a GM who is pretty well liked in the League.

To add context for those that don’t follow basketball:

A lot of players that don’t end up “making it” in the NBA play in China as an alternative because: 1) China has shorter season game schedules, 2) Fans there go crazy for basketball and treat even B/C-tier NBA players like celebrities, 3) Chinese teams pay a lot of money to foreign players, 4) the CBA season ends before the end of the NBA season, so players who did well in the CBA have a chance of getting a contract with an NBA playoff team.

Jeremy Lin (asian-american NBA-veteran) is an example of an aged player that signed with the CBA after he didn’t get any NBA offers, and is making $3M this upcoming season for 38 games in the CBA after he was paid $700k last year for 82 games with Toronto.

Other players like Josh Smith, Lance Stephenson, Tracy McGrady, and Stephon Marbury also played in China too.

For the vast majority of NBA players (or elite international basketball players), this is like a short way to “go on tour”, make a ton of money, and then return back to cushy life in the US.


Given that he was born in Taiwan, I wonder what he thinks about the territorial integrity of the PRC with respect to Taiwan. While the hk protesters demands do not (to my knowledge) generally include seccesion from china, Taiwan is much further along in that respect, de facto. In this case, it would me hypocritical for him not to promote immediate, at least partial integration (eg, abolish the roc military and have the PRC responsible for Taiwans defense). Can anyone come up with any statements from him on this topic?


The Bleacher Report article was taken down, but can be still be read here: https://web.archive.org/web/20191007075632/https://bleacherr...


Hong Kong will most likely integrate, but the situation is more fluid than it might seem on the surface. China is effectively dealing with significant civil disobedience which has sparked civil wars and regime changes seemingly over night in other countries. The breaking point is less about Hong Kong than how far the system can stretch suppressing everything from pro democracy advocates to various religious and ethnic groups.


>As a meta point, I figure this is only the beginning and we'll continue to see China flex it's financial and population muscle abroad in ways that may seem hard to predict in advance, but are pretty obvious once they happen.

People in the west who complained about the great fire wall is going to be in a rude awakening when they realize walls are designed to keep things out AND in. If China actually encouraged netizens to interact abroad then every social media platform will become unrecognizable. People will beg for Chinese users to be siloed like in multiplayer games.


How long until China starts pressuring foreign firms to cut business with those that speak against it?

Will mentioning Tibet jeopardize your AWS account?


Isn’t the USA doing this very thing with sanctions against Venezuela and Iran?

Even if you’re not an American company, you can be punished by the USA for doing business in countries that they have sanctioned.

So let’s not pretend like this is some horrible future, it’s already the present.


It's the present for Venezuela and Iran. If you want a similar fate for the USA, keep allowing Chinese influence to grow. But do not be surprised if other Americans don't find much comfort in your preachings that they deserve it.

If someone punches you, should you not put up your guard, because you, too, have punched others?


> ... in your preachings that they deserve it.

I don't see where your parent preaches "the deserve it".


That is a scary thought.


Looks like it's more than just a thought: "Last year, China severely punished Marriott after an employee in Omaha, Neb., “liked” a pro-Tibet tweet. Marriott profusely apologized and fired the employee." -- https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/10/07/nba-is-on...

Go to Tibet and just ask the indigenous people. seems no news to complain for Tibet recently


There's a good point about "the fans" here. Chinese audience is widely considered to be the most fragile and childish out there (though it's likely being manipulated by the goverment). Most famous examples are Steam (digital game shop) product reviews - if a game offends China in any way it will be bombed with chinese reviews.


What's an example on Steam?



Warframe


The league should have said: “We regret the truth offended you; we stand by the truth”.

Now we know they don’t operate by principles but as everyone knew they only side with “the right thing” when it intersects with their money. And at no other time.


Now imagine if the league had said that about Palestine.


Trump would have gone on a rant, and some pro-Israel advertisers and supporters would pull their money out, but otherwise they'd be fine. An entire country wouldn't boycott them, probably not even Israel (but if they did, so what).


What is the truth? Who is burning the subway stations & shops while hit innocent travelers in HongKong? It was peacefully one month or two ago, but so far it is controversial in China. Do some investigations before speaking especially you are a public figure.


China’s brand equity is quickly sinking.


For those who are ignorant, what was the brand's value prop before?


Up to about ten years ago, the Chinese government was generally viewed as becoming more liberal, progressive and open. Under the current regime, the opinion of most western commentators has gone the other way.


11 years ago actually, and that was mainly just for the 2008 Olympics, they quickly retreated after the games. The backpedaling definitely started under Hu even if Xi accelerated it.

But there is hope: another Olympics is happening in 2022, they might restart another charm campaign so that isn’t a disaster.


Shades of 1936.


>>>Up to about ten years ago, the Chinese government was generally viewed as becoming more liberal, progressive and open.

Here's a few articles from what I guess would be contrarian authors then. [1][2] Personally I always thought the idea that China would becoming progressively democratic to be deluded. There are enough examples of well-managed authoritarian capitalism producing good results in Asia for the Chinese to not change course, to say nothing of the inherent greed of the Princelings who directly benefit from their positions of power.

[1]https://web.archive.org/web/20180918212727/http://www.aei.or...

[2]https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/chinas-slow-road-democracy


Money... they want the Chinese to consume NBA content, merchandise and possibly extend the league.


> and possibly extend the league

So much for NBA.

(I mean, I guess it ain't unprecedented, given that there are Canadian teams in the NBA, but at least Canada and the US are close geographically and culturally, while China is neither, last I checked)


As an aside, I recently learned that the N in NHL would have originally been Canada.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Hockey_League

In retrospect it makes a lot of sense; but I guess in my subconsciously Americentrist way the thought never occurred to me.


They're probably planning to set up a Chinese NBA league that isn't directly part of the main NBA league. The NFL did that in Europe for while for example. A bunch of teams in Europe competed against each other in their own league for their own cup (The World Bowl), all separate from the 'real' NFL, but all under the NFL banner and with NFL backing.


"Let’s hope the incident with Morey and the Houston Rockets will teach other companies a lesson: The big Chinese market is open to the world, but those who challenge China’s core interests and hurt Chinese people’s feelings cannot make any profit from it."

So basically suck it up if you want our money.


I wish every NBA player would now tweet in favor of Hong Kong.

A better take on this: https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/10/china-nba-twitter-dis...

> This event is starkly clarifying. And it should give conservatives and progressives pause, because China’s model of imposing Xi Jinping thought is a direct and equal threat to us. If Chinese authoritarianism is able to spread into American life through corporate power, because corporations are set up to serve shareholders and have trouble thinking ethically beyond that, then perhaps it is the duty of the state to interrupt the exchange mechanism through which this corruption proceeds. If China is forcing American corporations to impose Xi Jinping thought, maybe it’s time to choose.


I think we can trace this back to Clinton elevating China to MFA status and fast tracking it into WTO without much in terms of good international citizen milestones. For a few cheap TVs yesterday and today, along with disposable everything, we sold out good old blue collar workers (who in theory Clinton supported) and the path to a more democratic government in China. As I’ve said, Clinton’s legacy vis a vis American workers is much worse than Reagan’s —at least with domestic corps they were within our grasp. No more.


Much worse?? Equal at best. Ronald "Union buster" Reagan did absolutely nothing for the average working man. We'll likely never recovery from the trickle down economics bullshit he kick-started.


Reagan did things people saw and experienced (union busting), but to me Clinton was more consequential and pernicious, but the cost was hidden and happened slowly. I mean he sold out American manufacturing and by proxy blue collar workers and we got nothing in return but environmentally detrimental cheap consumer products. He was much worse but he isn’t yet denounced for it. I’m almost sure Bernie wouldn’t shy away from admitting it.


Sold out the environment too, since much of the manufacturing doesn't have to follow any regulation. Granted much of this blame lays equally on the Chinese since it's their own country they're polluting (aside from the atmosphere and dumping garbage in the ocean).


Ehh. I’m not really inclined to call my representative and advocate that we get involved in yet another foreign entanglement. What does “save Hong Kong” mean? Undoing the agreement that’s in place for hand-over to China?


For starters it means not integrating them into a country with concentration camps, kills journalists, suppresses dissent

Hong Kong was a democracy, it getting eaten up by China is horrendous.


> Hong Kong was a democracy, it getting eaten up by China is horrendous.

Hong Kong was never a democracy in the modern sense. Its citizen only elect half of the members of the legislative council. And the Chief It had Rule of Law, freedoms of press and assembly and other factors, but it was never a full democracy.


Hong Kong will likely be integrated, and any military action would be a disaster. But we can make swallowing Hong Kong hurt, politically and economically.


On the on hand we have a degree of outrage that China can influence corporate America.

In the same discussion we have calls to hurt China politically and economically for implementing an international treaty.

If we expect China to measure its influene in our country, we ought to show some measure.


I think you left something out. That treaty will be used to kidnap and torture dissidents.

There is nothing wrong with calls to hurt a Communist government politically and economically.


It's a bit more complicated than that. The British Empire had some battles with China in the 1800s and took over Hong Kong. Eventually in 1898 a treaty was signed effectively ceding the territory to Britain in perpetuity, but for face-saving reasons it was written as a 99 year lease. In 1984, after multiple regime changes in China and the decline of the British Empire, a new agreement was made between China and the UK that would make Hong Kong a Special Administrative Zone as a part of China. Under the one country, two systems policy, Hong Kong would retain domestic political and economic autonomy for 50 years (until 2047). As China has grown more powerful and the UK less powerful in the past 20 years, China now has more power to try to accelerate the integration of Hong Kong. This is worrying for Hong Kong citizens, who fear they will be subject to persecution and retaliation under China's judicial system.


because unlike authors of South park they lack backbone, no need to read article


Because, unlike the authors of South Park, they have a real financial stake in the Chinese market. It's easy to have "backbone" take a stand when you have nothing of value on the line.

The only way to make the NBA change their mind is if enough people in the US boycott the NBA to the point where they are losing more money domestically than they're making from the Chinese market


Yes, as much as we can admire people standing up for what they believe in, the NBA and Blizzard had put themselves in a position of having to give up something to criticize China. South Park really has nothing to lose.

Can we stop submitting political links to hacker news?


Its economical, as you might learn if Chine doesnt like something in your product and removes half of your target audience overnight.


I wish there was a way to filter out political news here.

It's telling that all of it is about China, and rarely any on Kashmir, Iraq, Sudan, or Turkey.


China is a huge country with a huge tech presence that many of us are exposed to. I don’t know of many tech startups in Kashmir, Iraq, Sudan, Turkey, I guess others are similar, so they don’t get as much attention here.


Furthermore, there's so much technology being utilized in this conflict. The GFW, social credit scores, facial recognition, an army of censors policing chat rooms... there's a lot of dystopian science fiction materializing here. Some of it using technologies that "we" are familiar with or even work on.


Of course it's about money! However the problem is because the situation in HK is not as straight forward as people think. I would recommend everyone watch this video before making any judgements or comments:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPYuGYLesx0

SCMP has been for the past few months been very supportive of the "protests", so I am not even sure why they put this video up in the first place. As we can see, these guys are not the "peaceful protesters" people would like you to believe, but more rioters or even terrorists (yeah, they threatened a 70 yr old lady). So I would say at this stage expressing support for these guys in HK are like supporting the Sandy Hook conspiracies https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Hook_Elementary_School_s... which I would imagine a similar response from the NBA.


> However the problem is because the situation in HK is not as straight forward as people think.

Agreed.

> SCMP has been for the past few months been very supportive of the "protests", so I am not even sure why they put this video up in the first place. As we can see, these guys are not the "peaceful protesters" people would like you to believe, but more rioters or even terrorists

The masked, armed people in the video may be terrorists, but have you considered that the SCMP is doing a form of nonviolent protest? That if all protesters were terrorists, they'd have a larger army than the Islamic State ever had? The fact that the Hong Kong government remains in power despite their inferior numbers shows that most protesters disapprove of violent tactics just as much as you do.

You seem to have realized that a black-and-white view like "protesters are good, they should be supported" is too simple and requires more nuance, but then you went and replaced it with the black-and-white "protesters are bad, they should not be supported."

I think a better alternative is "some protesters are good, they should be supported; other protesters are bad, they should not be supported." Spend some time figuring out who fits in each bucket.

Treating groups of people as single entities with a unified will is only going to lead to confusion when they don't act like one. (That applies also to the Hong Kong police, the Hong Kong government, the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese people, and other participants in this conflict.)


[flagged]


I live in the UK buddy! Here is what I see of democracy, UK PM, voted in by less than 100k pensioners, at the same time, outside my office here in London we have a church that operates as a food bank! Tell me, who is being disingenuous at this stage? People who just cry democracy as Casus Belli to destroy their own city (heck even other people's countries), or would you rather try to look for the actual underlying problems? From what I've seen, democracy is certainly not doing a good job at that.

Brainwashed, yeah, I agree with Mark Twaine: If You Don’t Read the Newspaper You Are Uninformed, If You Do Read the Newspaper You Are Misinformed

That quote about the misinformed part is certainly true in the west (or at least the UK where I live).




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