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Legislators from across the political spectrum came together Monday – if only for a moment to slam in the NBA for the in essence, apologized to China over a tweet from Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey, that their support for the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
The Morey tweet that read, “Fight for freedom, with Hong Kong,” invited to judge several Chinese organizations-including the sportswear brand Li-Ning, Chairman of the SPD Bank and the Chinese Basketball Association–, the team and interrupt their work with the franchise. The Chinese Consulate in Houston, scolded the rockets, saying: “We have submitted representations and expressed strong dissatisfaction with the Houston Rockets… Someone with a conscience would support the efforts of the Hong Kong Special secure Administrative Region, Hong Kong’s social stability.”
But the American lawmakers, including from the team of the home state of Texas, accused the rockets and the NBA to appease repressive Chinese government out of concern for their financial interests. The NBA is investing heavily in China, a market of 1.4 billion potential fans, and a deep connection to the Houston Hall of Fame center and former Rocket Yao Ming, the legendary Chinese basketball player, is the President of China’s official basketball association.
“As a lifelong @Houston rockets fan, I was proud to see @dmorey call of the Communist party of China’s repressive treatment of protesters in Hong Kong,” sen Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted. “Now, in the pursuit of big $$, the @nba is shameful retreat.”
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Julián Castro, the Democratic presidential candidate from Texas, also gave a strong condemnation of China’s treatment of demonstrators in the semi-Autonomous former British colony of Hong Kong, for increased freedom and democracy, as they rail against what they say is the oppression from Beijing.
“China is tweeted not to mention the economic powerhouse that critics, even in the United States,” Castro. “The United States must lead with our values and speak for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, and not allow American citizens to be bullied by an authoritarian government.”
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, supported Castro, tweeted that he was happy with the one-time Obama Housing and Urban Development secretary.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said Sunday he found the approval to China from the NBA and the rockets “unacceptable.”
‘Basketball fans, and the American people in General have absolutely no doubt about what is happening here should be: The NBA wants money, and the Communist party of China is to ask, to deny them the basic human rights. In response, the NBA issued a statement to say that money is the most important thing.’
— Senior Ben Sasse, R-Neb.
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“No one should implement a gag-rule on the Americans for the freedom,” he tweeted on Monday morning. “I stand with the people of Hong Kong in their pursuit of democratic rights. I stand with the Americans who want to, to word, to show your support for the people in Hong Kong.”
Other prominent lawmakers expressed concern about the response to Morey’s tweet included Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Rick Scott, R-Fla., and Ben Sasse, R-Neb. Sasse, the NBA threw the money in front of human rights in a biting allegation Monday morning.
“Basketball fans, and the American people in General have absolutely no doubt about what is happening here should be: The NBA wants money, and the Communist party of China is to ask, to deny them the basic human rights,” he said. “In response, the NBA issued a statement to say that money is the most important thing.”
Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta was quick, the team of Morey’s statement on Friday. Quote Morey is now-deleted post, he said that the GM was only speaking for himself, and stressed that the missiles are “NOT a political organization.”
Houston Rockets star and 2017-18 NBA most valuable player James Harden also post distanced itself from Morey’s support of freedom in Hong Kong.
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“We are sorry. You know, we love China. We love to play,” Harden said, according to ESPN. “For both of us individually, we go there once or twice a year. You show us the most love.”
The NBA-official English opinion in this matter, expressed his regret to “our friends and fans in China” – without condemning it directly, Morey.
“We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that the Sport and the NBA can be used to bridge as a unifying force of cultural differences and bring people together,” it said.
The League’s statement on its official Chinese social media account, but took on a different tone.
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The NBA said on Monday on the account that it was “extremely disappointed” by Morey’s “inappropriate” tweet about Hong Kong, which will “seriously hurt the feelings of the Chinese fans.”
Similar hard in the direction Morey is a long explanation, the Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai was.
“The support of a separatist movement in a Chinese territory is one of those third-rail issues, not only for the Chinese government, but also for all citizens in China,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “The 1.4 billion Chinese citizens stand together when it comes to the territorial integrity of China and the country of its sovereignty over their homeland. This issue is not negotiable.”
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This controversy comes after many American politicians issued, blames the Chinese Communist party last week, at 70. Anniversary of the founding of the people’s Republic of China.
Not to see”, the price of the [people’s Republic of China] year celebration, look no further than what happened in Hong Kong: a perpetual war against those who live the desire in freedom,” sen. Tom cotton, R-Ark., said. “By the Great leap Forward and the cultural revolution in the camps in Xinjiang today, it is a spooky 70 years, the Chinese Communist party is in control.”
Some Republicans broke with President Trump in these statements, but, as the President tweeted his happiness to China’s wishes on the anniversary.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos David Aaro, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.