Something completely bizarre has taken place on the world’s stage, and it involves China, the National Basketball Association, and crude cartoon South Park.
Last week, the long-running South Park aired an episode exposing some of China’s more notorious human rights abuses, while simultaneously reminding us that a great many of our favorite Hollywood franchises have buddied up to China, even going so far as to censor the art itself to appease the Communist dictatorship…all because of China’s enormous economic power.
For their efforts, South Park was immediately banned in the Far East nation.
Then, literally days after the episode aired, the NBA found itself in an eerily similar situation.
The National Basketball Association won’t gag its personnel or apologise over a team executive’s tweet that ignited a firestorm in China, commissioner Adam Silver insisted Tuesday, standing firm despite a growing backlash that imperils the league’s lucrative Chinese following.
The tweet last Friday by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey supporting pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong has infuriated Chinese fans and led to broadcasters and sponsors severing ties with the NBA.
But Silver, speaking at a press conference in Japan where the Rockets are playing exhibition games this week, said the world’s top basketball league would continue to “support freedom of expression and certainly freedom of expression of the NBA community.”
This all came after China threw a fiscal hissy fit.
Earlier Tuesday, China’s Communist Party-controlled broadcaster announced that it had shelved plans to broadcast the two pre-season exhibition games in China and was considering more punishments.
“We believe that any comments that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech,” China Central Television (CCTV) said on its social media account.
Does this mean that American culture is being hijacked by Beijing’s Communist leadership? And, if so, how does this comply with the First Amendment itself?
Americans are certainly going to be keeping a close eye on development in this situation.