Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and “Shark Tank” cast member, explicitly refused to defend democratic protesters in Hong Kong facing oppression from the Chinese Communist Party, after he was challenged to do so by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“Can you say ‘Free Hong Kong’?” the Republican senator asked Cuban in a tweet. “Can you condemn the CCP’s concentration camps w/ 1 million Uyghurs?”
Still no answer from @mcuban
Let’s try simpler. Mark, tough guy, can you say “Free Hong Kong”?
Can your players put that on their jerseys?
Can you condemn the CCP’s concentration camps w/ 1 million Uyghurs?
Can you say ANYTHING other than “Chairman Mao is beautiful & wise”? https://t.co/0XpLRaFSw2
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 20, 2020
Cuban responded by voicing support for the Black Lives Matter movement, insisting that systemic racism exists in America, and criticizing Cruz for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But he failed to even mention the people of Hong Kong or the Uyghur Muslims being persecuted by the Chinese government.
I can say Black Lives Matter. I can say there is systemic racism in this country. I can say there is a Pandemic that you have done little to end. I can say I care about this country first and last and.. https://t.co/URFs41XloY
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) July 20, 2020
Instead, he suggested that he was only concerned with China “as it concerns American citizens” — oddly reminiscent of the “America First” policies popularized by President Trump, who Cuban criticized in his Twitter thread.
Cuban defended his silence on China by claiming “I have never gotten involved in the domestic policies of ANY foreign country.”
If you think I wont criticize China and what they do as it concerns American Citizens watch this https://t.co/RXEJxjMeO8 and this movie https://t.co/U5NnAwTFbQ. But I have never gotten involved in the domestic policies of ANY foreign country. We have too much to do here. And..
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) July 20, 2020
China’s current “domestic policies,” which Cuban claims to not get involved in, include forced sterilization and abortions for minority women, and soldiers rounding up blindfolded Uyghur Muslims onto trains. The Chinese government has forced at least a million Uyghur Muslims into “re-education” camps since 2017. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, the Chinese Communist Party enacted a new “national security” law that allows the CCP to go after citizens of Hong Kong who are suspected of “subversion,” in a drastic crackdown on freedom of expression.
Despite his claims, Cuban has spoken about China’s policies before — and in favor of the communist government’s actions. In 2019, he weighed in on tariffs, calling China “the ‘stable’ trading partner that doesn’t create or escalate trade wars.”
That would be temporary. And China could actually be gaining business as a result of our trade war with them. They have reduced tariffs and increased trade with the rest of the world. They are now the "stable" trading partner that doesn't create or escalate trade wars .
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) August 29, 2019
Cuban’s unwillingness to condemn the Chinese government’s treatment of its people comes after the NBA banned fans from creating customs jerseys with the slogan “FreeHongKong” while allowing phrases such as “KillCops” and “Burn Jews.”
U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr last week condemned China’s “ruthless crackdown” on the people of Hong Kong, as well as its treatment of a million Uyghur Muslims who have been rounded up into “indoctrination and labor camps.”
“China is no closer to democracy today than it was in 1989 when tanks confronted pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square,” Barr said.