State broadcaster CCTV stopped broadcasting games in 2020 amid anger over a team official’s support for Hong Kong’s democracy movement.
The US National Basketball Association (NBA) has returned to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV after being blacklisted for almost 18 months following a team official’s support for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
CCTV broadcast the game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. The Clippers took the victory 121-115.
China is the NBA’s largest foreign market, but Chinese officials took the extraordinary action of suspending the American league from CCTV after then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Kong.
As demonstrations rocked the financial center in October 2019, Morey tweeted an image with a slogan used by pro-democracy protesters urging the world to “Support Hong Kong”.
He later deleted the tweet and apologized, but business partners and Chinese celebrities cut ties with the league after NBA executives defended Morey’s right to free speech.
At the time, a CCTV spokesman called the decision, which threatened billions of dollars in NBA profits, a “normal broadcast deal” and noted the league’s “continued expressions of goodwill” toward China. The national broadcaster did not give a reason for broadcasting the game on Wednesday.
Under an agreement with former colonial ruler Britain, Hong Kong is governed under a “one country, two systems” model in which it maintains its own government and financial systems. Hong Kong residents have for decades enjoyed the civil liberties, including freedom of expression, retained on the mainland.
The deal expires in 2047, at which point China is expected to take full control of the territory.
In 2019, mass protests broke out in Hong Kong over a proposed law that would allow Beijing to extradite the city’s residents to face charges on the mainland. They soon morphed into a broader pro-democracy movement and subsequent crackdown in which thousands of protesters were arrested.
In 2020, China passed a wide-ranging national security law that criminalized in Hong Kong any act deemed to support subversion, secession, terrorism, or collusion with foreign entities. largely chilling the protest effort.
For its part, the NBA has worked to mend relations with China.
Still, at least one player has been an outspoken critic, with then-Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom in October 2021 calling Chinese President Xi Jinping a “brutal dictator” over China’s policies in the world. Tibet. He also urged his fellow athletes to boycott last month’s Beijing Winter Olympics in protest against human rights abuses.
China has repeatedly denied accusations of religious suppression and other abuses in Tibet, saying it “peacefully liberated” the Far West region in 1951 and raised living standards with new infrastructure and educational policies.