Chinese Internet Yanks Celtics Games From Air After NBA Player Called Xi A ‘Brutal Dictator’ For Oppressing Tibet

Chinese Internet Yanks Celtics Games From Air After NBA Player Called Xi A ‘Brutal Dictator’ For Oppressing Tibet

A Chinese internet company with close ties to the communist government yanked Boston Celtics basketball games from the air on Thursday after the team’s center, Enes Kanter, spoke out against the dictator Xi Jinping and his political cronies for oppressing Tibet.

Tencent Sports, which maintains a streaming partnership with the National Basketball Association, abruptly ended its coverage of the popular games after Kanter posted a short video to Facebook on Wednesday calling on “brutal dictator” Jinping to “Free Tibet.”

“My message for the Chinese government is: Free Tibet. Tibet belongs to Tibetans. I am here to add my voice and speak out against what is happening in Tibet under the Chinese government’s brutal rule,” he said. Kanter also called for shame on communist China and Jinping’s “henchmen” for “erasing Tibetan identity and culture.”

Kanter also posted a picture of his personalized sneakers emblazoned with “Free Tibet” and more imagery on Twitter.

Communist China has openly admitted its role in forcing Tibetans away from what it calls an “oppressive theocracy” into Jinping’s dictatorship where Tibetan people and monks are banned from worshipping, writing, and expressing their culture and risk torture, re-education, or even death if they don’t comply.

Kanter is no stranger to speaking from his position in the U.S. on behalf of other countries. In 2019, Kanter refused to play in a Knicks game in London after Turkish prosecutors tried to get an international warrant for his arrest after they claimed he was in a terrorist organization. Kanter’s repeated comments denouncing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for violating human rights have prompted at least nine arrest warrants from Turkey, which canceled his passport in 2017.

Shortly after Kanter’s posts, Tencent marked recent Celtics games as unavailable and signaled that it would not be live streaming the games in the future. Companies in communist China previously tried to silence opposition to the CCP’s treatment of pro-democracy leaders and protesters in Hong Kong from then-Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey by pulling sponsorships and cutting off streaming which cost the league millions of dollars. The NBA responded by complying with communist China’s wishes and shutting down questions, protest statements, and criticism of the unfurling situation in Hong Kong.

Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.
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