Hong Kong Extradition Bill Withdrawn as Protesters Get Backing From Shaq in NBA-China Controversy
Do you support the pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters?
by The Great Firewall of China | 10.24.19
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Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters got a pair of wins this week in their struggle to preserve their autonomy from communist China ― one in the legislature and one in the court of public opinion ― although the protests, now in their fifth month, will likely continue.
The extradition bill which initially sparked the protests was formally withdrawn by the Hong Kong legislature on Wednesday, satisfying one of the protesters’ five central demands. However, the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam hasn’t committed to launching an inquiry into allegations of excessive force by police or to step down from her post, two of the protesters’ other primary demands (in addition to universal suffrage and the release of people arrested in the course of the protests).
On Tuesday, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal backed embattled Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey for his pro-Hong Kong tweet on a pregame show for the opening of the NBA season, saying:
“One of our best values here in America is free speech. We’re allowed to speak up about injustices, and that’s just how it goes. If people don’t understand that, that’s something that they have to deal with. I just thought it was unfortunate for both parties and then you have people speaking when they don’t know what they’re talking about. But Daryl Morey was right. Whenever you see something wrong going on anywhere in the world, you should have the right to say ‘that’s not right.’ That’s what he did.”
Morey, who hasn’t made a public comment on the situation since he apologized and deleted tweet, faced criticism from NBA star LeBron James for failing to take into account the potential financial ramifications of his pro-Hong Kong tweet for players and the league, which has faced censorship in China since the controversy began in early October.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that Morey won’t face discipline for his tweet ― which the league apologized for, drawing bipartisan criticism ― despite calls from China for him to be fired.
Vice President Mike Pence blasted the NBA on Thursday for “acting like a wholly owned subsidiary” of the Chinese Communist Party, and also condemned Nike for “checking its social conscience at the door” by removing Houston Rockets gear from its China stores.
These developments come a week after the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved a trio of bills aimed at countering the Chinese government’s efforts to suppress the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests, which the Chinese Communist Party condemned as “arrogant and dangerous.”
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Josh Herman)