The man was identified by police only by his family name Wang and his online screen name on the messaging service Weibo. That account showed a photo of a man wearing a Houston Rockets jersey with a cover over his eye—imagery adopted by demonstrators in Hong Kong—and holding a lighter below an upside down Chinese flag.
“I live and die with the basketball team,” the posting said.
The NBA is hugely popular there, don't they risk annoying huge chunks of their own population by taking it off the air?
Morey is not even an especially notable NBA figure, Twitter doesn't even work in China, it would have been easy to block news of this in China. It seems like the reaction would cause a Streisand effect there.
Isn't a backlash among the US population over this plainly foreseeable? That doesn't seem like its in their interests.
Working off the assumption that the Chinese government is rational, why is its reaction here so strong?
What other things are about to happen, that make this reaction make sense?
Ramping up Chinese nationalism in response to HK forced the governments hand. This is why CPC tries to contain nationalism normally, it's hard to contain and limits maneuverability. Also CPC foreign propaganda organ is... very inept. NBA is very popular there might actually be backlash.
Punishing western companies for questioning Chinese sovereignty issues as been consistently happening for years. The Chinese response has been completely consistent with past behaviors. They've always been extremely heavy handed on this issue. It's only an issue in the west due to Sino-US tensions being escalated into culture clash / war territory.
Edit, to add on culture, in China, central government influence over companies is perceived as a sign of strength and not fragility. Which leads to naive hot takes here like the government is scared when the opposite is true. Yes, NBA has a huge market but not larger than Chinese sovereignty. Conceding on this point is an existential weakness.
That is a mistake. Many hyper-nationalists already called a broad ban on NBA, and so far even the fans need to claim they will give up their interests for their love of the country.
And it is probably that way already. If no further response from NBA satisfying China's official account on this matter, the ban will extend into regular season and NO ONE will question it.
It is grassroot nationalistic parade, the CCP is merely riding it, and even they need to do this carefully.
Yes, by design. The Chinese government is signalling that the NBA is anti-China, just like they did with the iPhone (sales are down over 20% as a result of the government's marketing campaign and market pressure from Huawei.) Patriotic Chinese will get the message and stop watching the NBA.
NBA fan, who will NOT be renewing league pass, checking in. Morey is considered one of the top NBA GM's of one of the top teams (Rockets) that have a strong Sino-centric fan base because of former Rocket great, Yao Ming. Yao was the first Chinese superstar in the NBA. The Rockets are the 'adopted' team of China.
> Isn't a backlash among the US population over this plainly foreseeable?
I agree - I'm not paying for league pass this year. I did not like the response from the NBA.
On a different note - I was in the same boat as you and actually wrote an email to the league pass support address (did not get a reply yet) telling them that I had been a customer for years and would not be renewing this year because of the NBA's spineless capitulation to an authoritarian regime. I'm still disappointed they didn't respond correctly more quickly, Adam Silver really needed to make a strong statement over the weekend, but the statements he made earlier this week were much, much better. Unfortunate that it likely only happened because they underestimated the $$$ hit from American customers being pissed, and I'm under no illusion that anything but the bottom line is the primary concern, but I'm curious what you didn't like about Silver's most recent press conference. He pretty unequivocally said that the NBA will not infringe the free speech of its employees and gave the classic "sorry you were offended" non-apology-apology.
Part of me would have liked to see a stronger statement, but I'm also not sure it's the NBA's job to escalate an international relations issue, particularly when many of its players (including LeBron James, who has to be the most valuable asset the NBA currently has) were/are actually in China as this plays out.
I'm holding out a small bit of hope that there will be a stronger statement once no more NBA employees are in China. I have a couple of friends working in NBA front offices and a few rumors have reached their ears that the NBA is afraid to react too much for fear of retaliation in the form of players getting detained and stopped from leaving China (just to be clear, I have zero proof of this, but it seems logical).
And this was a 2 line tweet,
Which again is blocked in China.
I maintain that had the Chinese government just ignored this, or stuck it behind the Great Firewall,
This would be a complete non-story.
Now millions of Chinese citizens are wondering why exactly they can watch the NBA games they enjoy (even if they don’t agree with Morey at all).
The NBA shouldn't be the vanguard of American foreign policy.
"I (Adam Silver) support the principles of democracy and human rights, and stand with the people of Hong Kong in trying to secure those for themselves. The rest of the NBA stands with them as well. We apologize for responding to this incident incorrectly initially, we were deeply worried about losing the Chinese audience for many reasons. Our revenue and growth as an organization is certainly one of them, and additionally we feel that exposure to other cultures, even through the limited lens of broadcasted basketball games, can only be a positive thing for any people. But after some reflection, we've decided that the principles Daryl Morey was expressing support for when he tweeted are ones that we cannot in good conscience shy away from supporting as well, even at potential financial cost."
I realize that this is a pipe dream, and the NBA will never do it. But since you asked =)
You say that the NBA shouldn't be the vanguard of American foreign policy, and I don't disagree with that statement. But if the NBA were to hypothetically make a statement like the above, is that really them being the vanguard? Or is it a group of private citizens (organized under the banner of a for-profit corporation) deciding that there are certain principles they stand for as a company? And what's wrong with that?
Silver doesn't even have the right to speak for all NBA employees on the matter, which he wisely recognized. He should definitely not be getting out ahead of the State Dept.
> [Silver] should definitely not be getting out ahead of the State Dept.
I hope I'm not misunderstanding you, but I can't find another way to read this other than that you think the NBA shouldn't take a stance because the US federal government hasn't taken one. This idea is extraordinarily dangerous in my opinion, and I am vehemently opposed to it.
From a more global viewpoint.. there are reasons why a lot of Chinese get mad at the idea of westerners expressing an opinion over Hong Kong's system of rule. And it's not because they're brainwashed. Silver probably listened to their perspective, based on his wording.
One could be forgiven for not knowing such a perspective exists, given the HN threads on the matter.
Your comment reads to me as a very thinly veiled "shut up and dribble" . Not quite identical, mostly due to the lack of racist undertones, but the idea is the same. If the NBA standing in support of democracy and human rights creates an "international battleground", the blame for that lies exclusively and totally with China, full stop. These are things worth going to battle over, whether within the context of the NBA, state department negotiations, or anything in between. Your point about weaponizing the peace corps is a complete non sequitur.
I understand, I think as well as any western person can, why the Chinese get upset about this. I'm familiar with their history of issues with territorial sovereignty particularly in the 19th and early-to-mid 20th centuries . I simply completely disagree that said reaction is justified. People advocating for the right to govern themselves to some extent or another, particularly when the alternative is falling under the jurisdiction of an authoritarian regime, is justified precisely 100% of the time, and anyone who thinks otherwise is simply wrong, or yes, brainwashed. Silver may have listened to other perspectives, but I'll eat my hat if he cared at all about them, as opposed to caring about the NBA's bottom line.
 for perspective on this issue from someone sympathetic to the CCP https://www.facebook.com/joe.tsai.3781/posts/265337893139152...
For the record, I wasn't assuming anything about your exposure to various ideas. Just didn't want to belabor the points. I was snarking the one-sidedness of the board a little bit.
If you wanted to hear what I was thinking:
1) Installing western-friendly government in HK achieves full naval encirclement of China (SK, JP, Phillipines, Taiwan, HK).
2) As you say, there's the history of colonialism, which gets compounded by the importance of 1).
3) We consistently ignore these things from our allies and then get all moralizing when it's strategically advantageous for us. 12 hours ago we let Erdogan invade kurdish syria, and that's just today. I could list another dozen countries/disasters that we're enabling right now.
4) Almost every time we have gotten involved in 'liberating' countries because our values are so great, it's not only had ulterior motivations but it's also been an absolute humanitarian disaster. We did this on their borders twice in the latter 20th century.
When you add all of that up, and mix in the post-colonial resentment.. I can see a reaction of "America in particular can kindly shut up about it". It's not that they can't comprehend democracy, it's that they specifically don't want any American involvement whatsoever.
I'm not saying you have to agree with them -- feel free to join a divestment movement or something -- but they do have their reasons, the issue isn't completely one-sided.
Would you please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and use HN as intended? As you surely know, this is a site for intellectual curiosity. Political battle, especially about China, may be dominating the threads lately, but that's not a stable or ok situation—that's the needle going into the red, and we need accounts like yours to not just constantly be ramping that up and making it redder and redder. (I know you're not the only one.) If that happens, eventually the pressure hits a breaking point and the whole thing blows up. I had to go a long way back to find a comment that was distinctively about something else (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20060328, if you're curious).
Go ahead and ban me if you like but I'm not your problem here. That comment was, if I do say so, mind expanding compared to the raw emotion on display in these threads.
There was a split in the road, one went to Dengville, the other went to Xiville. Xi, as a requirement of his personal pursuit of absolute power, chose to aggressively pursue the authoritarian Xiville route. Everything Xi is doing is for self-glorification and not for the benefit of China (which is why he's adjusting presented history and inserting himself everywhere in prominence; if he were actually selflessly serving China's interests, he wouldn't do any of that). Every dictator couches their words and actions in the flag of the betterment of the nation, and it ultimately never is. Before he's done, he will largely wipe out what Deng (and the leaders that followed after) accomplished in modestly liberalizing China.
As China's formerly fast, organic (low debt) growth naturally entirely ebbs away, Xi will have no choice but to begin accelerating cultural lock-down to control the restless population. That is already underway and has been for a few years. The social contract will be noticeably violated and the people will start to rebel. The CPC knows this and will try to stay out in front of it as much as possible.
Don't know how people feel about these things being multi-posted, but I kind of like seeing a different thread where more people can comment considering top comments in a thread can be random, and also people's opinions can change as quickly as a day.
China has wide scale prison camps for ethnic minorities. Reports of organ harvesting being conducted on these people. Adds up since china has no wait time for transplants. Along with video of mass maltreatment of these people.
Then there's the clashes in Hong Kong.
That's just the top 3 problems right now. This has an international effect, whether you shrug it off or not.
here, a general manager of a team (not a player) showed support for free speech (the protests) and democratic values over tyranny, and the league rallied (measured) support for him. many americans then criticized the nba for not going far enough, because greed.
with the nfl, a player protests minority persecution by the police (an expression of governmental power). the league bans the respectfully protesting player (because greed) and fans cheer the oppression in the name of patriotism.
the subtext is not so flattering for us americans.
Most accounts of the NBA controversy that I've heard suggest the apology to China made by the Houston Rockets's James Harden in response is what has drawn criticism. And the GM has been pressured into making an apology . That was after the Houston Rockets immediately distanced themselves from the statement . The criticism I've heard has been of the subservient apologies, because freedom. Our National Basketball Association has demonstrated a split loyalty.
Also, Kaepernick was not banned, although perhaps that's an interpretation of his not being rehired after his contract ended. Statistically, he was the worst or second worst QB in the NFL. Add to that the PR risk, and the return on investment is negative.
In China, if I posted that same critical comment to social media, I'd fear for my life and the lives of my family as a direct action from the government. In the USA, Colin Kaepernick has a lucrative Nike endorsement and, while a controversial figure, lives freely and is often celebrated freely.
I'll side with us Americans on this one.
 "Kaepernick had a defense-adjusted yards above replacement — Football Outsiders’ ultimate value quotient — of minus-182, 35th in the NFL. By all metrics, he was one of the worst quarterbacks in the league." https://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/colin-kaepernick-49ers-s...
kaepernick's ranking as a quarterback is debatable but a quorum of knowledgeable people (i.e., not me) seemed to view him as a somewhere in the middle of the pack of starting quarterbacks.
in any case, another interesting element of the comparison is that nba players/employees have more collective power than their nfl counterparts. individual players, who feel loyalty to a range of interests other than profit, are willing to take stands that an unempathetic corporate entity just won't.
I, being of sound mind, declare that my President is shit. And he’s wrong about things. And his hair is ridiculous.
No consequences. That’s allowed. My real identity is adequately tied to this account, and I fear no repercussions for criticizing my government leaders.
But those aren’t government enforced laws. People can choose their own rules for speech.
If I insult my employer, I may be fired. There are social consequences for taking controversial stances—that’s true of all societies. But those aren’t legal consequences in the USA. Our government can’t intervene except for specific cases where you are inciting violence or physical danger when it comes to personal expression.
When it comes to speech, should the government have the power or should the people have the power? I don’t want my government to have that power over me, and I certainly don’t want China to have that power over citizens of the USA.
How’s that population of effectively “disappeared” minorities into prison for pot possession and migrants in cages make it look relative to China and its behavior of kidnapping people. There are oodles of folks held in America without charges every year.
Oh they got a trial here sure. One with a predetermined outcome codified into law years ago.
America has had the advantage of being able to sell the pretense via warm and cuddly commercials to the public over the last few decades. The rhetoric in China and America is the same. And “proper Chinese” believe a lot of the same about China vs. US
All countries fail the bottom 1/3rd. Some are just better at justifying it emotionally
I can safely criticize my country and its officials because I am not a Chinese citizen.
A lot of Chinese as a percentage of the population can say the same.
I think fewer Americans are inclined to try and test it, more so than it being true.
Look at the pipeline situation, campus protests, etc of the last five years. Police beatings and pepper spray in the face. That’s what happens when people stand and sit around in protest.
Put together a protest on the scale of Hong Kong’s in NYC or LA. See how it goes.
TL;DR it’s more explicit in China because they actually stand up more frequently than Americans.
And as a percentage of our population we have more people in jail for minor drug possession related offenses. That’s seen as a tacit protest of government law and you’re put in the clink. Predetermined outcomes written into law plainly, we’ve all just normalized to.
People call him out on Twitter constantly. No repercussions.
Lots of organized protests, most of them complaining about him. No consequences for the protesting.
Seriously, I can mail a letter telling my President that I think he’s shit, and there are no consequences. Freedom. Now, if I say something even vaguely threatening in that letter, the Secret Service will pay me a visit. And I’d feel uncomfortable. But that’s appropriate threat assessment. We don’t arrest our people for criticizing leaders. That’s a protected right.
I’ll make a bet: you and I will both send the same insulting, critical letters to our respective national leaders, and I bet that I will suffer no consequences provided that the content is of a non-threatening nature whereas you may not be so lucky.
In that respect, I have the opportunity to contribute to the public discourse that is necessary for my nation to progress. I can openly disagree with my leaders, and that is the very means for change in both who will lead and where we will go.
Edit: so I think it wasn't as hypocritical as it could be at face value but America isn't as great about athlete protest as we really want to be. It's much harder to stomach people protesting you
Now contrast that actual reality in the US with what's going on with China where there is zero allowed room for dissent. The US comes out universally, overwhelmingly favorably.
Kaepernick made money on his settlement with the NFL and is practically becoming a folk hero in the sports world (see the Betsy Ross flag shoe matter). He'd be in prison or executed in China for an equivalent stance.
the nfl very clearly virtue-signaled loyalty over freedom, which coincided neatly with their financial interests.
Though in the first 2 years Kaepernick went unsigned, about 10-15 quarterbacks weaker than him were signed. One has to assume the commercial/financial risk from fan and sponsor backlash was a significant factor.
I would assume that distraction for the team — regardless of reason for that distraction — was a major contributing factor.
At a certain level their objective is to win games and focus on the player politics and non-sport activities would be disruptive, and likely negatively impact his overall value to prospective teams.
"They have 200000 soviet soldiers watching...silos full of nuclear missiles and he wants to topple them with leaflets" - https://youtu.be/F_kVbLubBxM
They either grew up learning US values, or were natralized with the oath “I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. 
In any case, they enjoy the freedom to access different opinions in the US, and should respect those opinions.
And what do they think will happen to the protesters in Hong Kong? Probably the same thing that has happened to others.
Why identify with the CCP by doing what they say?
Keep increasing stakes with more losses to be had before the next trade meeting
1. Both Americans and China are furious at the NBA, both are threatening to boycott it.
2. Tencent just signed a $1.5 Billion streaming deal with the NBA. If the Chinese ban the NBA, then the first casualty (besides the NBA) is their own company.