China pulls Boston Celtics games after player calls Jinping a 'dictator' in support of Tibet

'More than 150 Tibetan people have burned themselves alive...I stand with my Tibetan brothers and sisters, and I support their calls for Freedom,' Kanter said.

10/22/2021 2:27:00 AM

'More than 150 Tibetan people have burned themselves alive...I stand with my Tibetan brothers and sisters, and I support their calls for Freedom,' Kanter said.

'More than 150 Tibetan people have burned themselves alive...I stand with my Tibetan brothers and sisters, and I support their calls for Freedom,' Kanter said.

and Tencent when he wore shoes decorated with the words"Free Tibet" during the Celtics game Wednesday night."More than 150 Tibetan people have burned themselves alive!! — hoping that such an act would raise more awareness about Tibet. I stand with my Tibetan brothers and sisters, and I support their calls for Freedom," Kanter wrote on

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.Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin called Kanter's comments"wrong.""The player you mentioned was clout-chasing, trying to get attention with Tibet-related issues. His wrong remarks are not worth refuting," Wenbin said.

The Wednesday night game was not broadcasted in China, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said,"It's unclear whether we'll be back on CCTV television in China this year."For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.Chinese broadcast platform Tencent won't show Boston Celtic games following player Enes Kanter' called Chinese President Xi Jinping a “dictator." Above, Kanter yells during the Boston Celtics Media Day on September 27, 2021, in Canton, Massachusetts. headtopics.com

Mary Schwalm/Associated PressThe league and China have had a damaged relationship since October 2019, when then-Houston general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of government protesters in Hong Kong and sparked what essentially became a blackout for the league in the world's most populous nation.

NBA games were eventually returned to Tencent's lineup but not state television provider CCTV, except for two games during the 2020 NBA Finals. Tencent did not offer Philadelphia's games last season, Morey's first with the 76ers.China's Communist leaders are extremely sensitive to anything they view as outside interference in domestic political affairs. After Morey's tweet, the fallout was immense and sponsors—following CCTV's lead—pulled their backing of the NBA China Games days later between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets. The NBA estimated that the strained relationship with the Chinese and lost broadcast rights meant the league missed out on about $400 million in revenue during the 2019-20 season alone.

For now, the fallout from Kanter's comments does not appear to be as severe as the immediate response to Morey's tweet, which was quickly deleted. Other NBA games played Wednesday were offered on Tencent, and the three games on Thursday's schedule appeared on the provider's listings.

Read more: Newsweek »

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