Hong Kong is a densely-populated island of more than seven million people. It became a British colony in 1842 and over the next century and a half prospered as a financial mecca. In 1997, the British ceded Hong Kong back to China with the agreement that Hong Kong would maintain separate governing and economic systems from communist China.
But this summer has brought a series of protests. Here’s a 100-word explanation from the BBC:
“Hong Kong’s protests started in June against proposals to allow extradition to mainland China. Critics feared this could undermine the city’s judicial independence and endanger dissidents. A former British colony, Hong Kong has some autonomy and more rights than the mainland under a ‘one country, two systems’ deal. City leader Carrie Lam agreed to suspend the bill, but demonstrations continued and developed to include demands for full democracy and an inquiry into police actions. The bill was finally withdrawn in September. Clashes between police and activists have been becoming increasingly violent, with police using tear gas and activists storming parliament.”
I don’t want to get too political and I’m not qualified to get too political. But there’s not much secret about what’s going on. China is a totalitarian regime – hi-ho, Silver, how did you so quickly forget Tiananmen Square? – that has this renegade island practicing unspeakable acts of freedom and capitalism.
And people all over the world have voiced support for Hong Kong. Including a shrewd basketball general manager who has made more news for a simple tweet than for trading Chris Paul to the Thunder for Russell Westbrook.
This is Silver’s original response: “We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable. While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals’ education themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them. We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.”
That’s the weakest bunch of crap anyone has ever written. The NBA prides itself on getting involved in all kinds of issues. Who cares about the feelings of North Carolina? You can always move the all-star game to Philadelphia? But Silver showed himself to care deeply about the money train from China.
This whole thing is silly. CCTV, China’s national television broadcaster, said it is reviewing all its dealings with the NBA.
“We’re strongly dissatisfied and oppose Adam Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right to freedom of expression,” the CCTV statement read. “We believe that any remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech.”
That statement is incredibly educational. Go read it again. It’s at the heart of totalitarianism. Freedom of speech is sacrificed at the altar of national sovereignty and social stability. That’s the justification for dictatorships.
That’s what the NBA is dealing with. Yet the Chinese love basketball and have money to spend and have been glad to spend it on the NBA. Until someone in the NBA dared suggest that Hong Kong freedom was worth supporting.
I’m no fan of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. I’m hard-pressed to think of any politician I like much. But give Cruz credit. Here’s what he said: “As a lifelong Houston Rockets fan, I was proud to see (Morey) call out the Chinese Communist Party’s repressive treatment of protestors in Hong Kong. … We’re better than this; human rights shouldn’t be for sale & the NBA shouldn’t be assisting Chinese communist censorship.”
This content was originally published here.