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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "China" (Page 50)

ESPN warns staff: Don’t go into specifics about China and Hong Kong when discussing Daryl Morey’s tweet

Westlake Legal Group e-1 ESPN warns staff: Don’t go into specifics about China and Hong Kong when discussing Daryl Morey’s tweet The Blog protest Houston Rockets Hong Kong ESPN Disney Daryl Morey Chuck Salituro China

Remember that ESPN is owned by Disney, and that China is willing and able to punish a parent organization for criticism by its subsidiary. It’s not just Houston Rockets games that have been banned from Chinese airwaves over Daryl Morey’s pro-Hong-Kong tweet, after all. It’s the entire NBA preseason.

So imagine what the consequences might be for Disney’s operations in China, starting with access to Chinese movie theaters for Disney films, if ESPN began applying a little of its famous wokeness towards China’s regard for human rights.

Some network employees are playing dumb about any change in the network’s coverage of this subject…

…but Deadspin has the goods in the form of a memo sent to staff by ESPN’s senior news director urging them not to delve into details about the dispute between China and Hong Kong. Congrats to the network, I guess, on finally discovering a political topic that it doesn’t want to opine on.

The memo doesn’t ask staff to take China’s side in the Hong Kong debate but, wouldn’t you know it, according to Deadspin much of the commentary thus far has been critical of Morey and scrupulously neutral on the sensitive subject of whether Hong Kongers deserve basic due process rights.

If you paid attention to ESPN channels yesterday, you saw the network repeatedly attempt to grapple with the story of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey creating an international incident after tweeting and then deleting his support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong. You heard talking head after talking head castigate Morey for sending the tweet, speculation over whether he’d keep his job, speculation about the sincerity of his convictions, discussions about what this meant for the Rockets’ bottom line, the observation that it’s unreasonable to expect for-profit companies like the NBA to act morally, and the non-take that cowing to China is simply the cost of doing business in China

Chuck Salituro, the senior news director of ESPN, sent a memo to shows mandating that any discussion of the Daryl Morey story avoid any political discussions about China and Hong Kong, and instead focus on the related basketball issues. The memo, obtained by Deadspin, explicitly discouraged any political discussion about China and Hong Kong. Multiple ESPN sources confirmed to Deadspin that network higher-ups were keeping a close eye on how the topic was discussed on ESPN’s airwaves…

Any summary of the tensions between China and Hong Kong is going to be necessarily reductive, but a summary of what’s actually going on at least provides basic context for the rest of the discussion. The idea that Chinese politics are simply too complex to talk about on sports TV just isn’t convincing.

ESPN has toned down its on-air politicking over the past 18 months after justified complaints from righties that the network had adopted a conspicuously “woke” identity. Too much politics, not enough sports, viewers claimed. Jemele Hill, their most outspoken host, was moved off the SportsCenter desk and the network’s president vowed to stick to the thing that ESPN became famous for in the first place. But there was an exception to that policy: Obviously, some sports stories do involve politics. If the network is going to cover Colin Kaepernick’s collusion grievance against the NFL, for instance, it has to discuss the claim that he’s been blackballed for refusing to stand during the anthem.

The NBA’s quagmire in China is a textbook example of that sports/politics intersection, notes Deadspin. If you can’t cover Kaepernick’s legal battle with the NFL without discussing the underlying details, how can you discuss the NBA’s standoff with China without addressing the merits of Morey’s pro-Hong-Kong tweet? Political context is crucial to letting viewers decide which party is in the right, which depends in part on their assessment of the righteousness of the cause in Hong Kong. Did Morey say something so egregious that China, and the NBA, are entitled to be angry with him, and the Rockets to fire him? Or is China trying to censor an anodyne expression of support for a pro-democracy movement, aided and abetted by propaganda pushed by American corporations that fear loss of access to the Chinese market?

If American sports figures are being unjustly pressured to genuflect to Chinese communist sensibilities, that seems like a story. I wonder why Disney-owned ESPN, which also happens to have a deal with Chinese tech leviathan Tencent, isn’t eager to tell it.

At Slate, Tom Scocca says it’s time for the NBA to pull the plug on China. It’ll only get worse from here, not better.

The message of a spiel like Tsai’s is that foreign institutions can coexist with the Chinese government on mutual terms of respect, as long as those institutions honor the boundaries around China’s nonnegotiable sensitivities. The truth, though, is that those boundaries are constantly moving. Ever since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which were supposed to celebrate China’s full integration into the international order, the government has been aggressively tightening the limits, confident that the terms of engagement mean foreign entities will have to go along—whether it’s a matter of putting Communist Party officials onto university boards, or stifling news coverage of leadership’s self-enrichment, or censoring a movie, or removing apps from the Chinese market…

China has already played its hand. If Hong Kong is nonnegotiable, there’s nothing to discuss. The subject will become more sensitive, not less, if the Hong Kong police move from tear gas and rubber bullets to the routine use of live ammunition, or if the People’s Liberation Army moves in. Would the NBA muzzle its employees then? Would the players and staff of a globally prominent American company censor their own feelings to protect the Chinese market? Why not take the stand before it gets to that?

If you want a firsthand look at how pitiful ESPN’s coverage can be, go watch the Deadspin video of Stephen A. Smith ranting yesterday — not about Chinese human-rights abuses, not about the NBA groveling and risking cooptation by a totalitarian state in the name of making a buck, but about Morey’s alleged selfishness in not thinking of the Rockets’ bottom line before tweeting. Coming soon to the Stephen A. Smith Show, I presume: The Uighur menace. Could it happen here? Stay tuned.” Ironically, one person who has acquitted herself well in all this is — ta da — Jemele Hill, who has a piece at the Atlantic today taking the NBA to task for its hypocrisy. If the league is going to speak up in defense of NBA players’ right to protest social injustice, she insists, it needs to speak up in defense of Daryl Morey’s right to do the same. Indeed.

The post ESPN warns staff: Don’t go into specifics about China and Hong Kong when discussing Daryl Morey’s tweet appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group e-1-300x153 ESPN warns staff: Don’t go into specifics about China and Hong Kong when discussing Daryl Morey’s tweet The Blog protest Houston Rockets Hong Kong ESPN Disney Daryl Morey Chuck Salituro China  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

In The Midst Of Criticism Over China Policy, Trump Administration Comes Out Swinging Over Treatment Of Uighur Muslims

Westlake Legal Group rsz_94239b55-bba9-4a94-94cb-571619514f3b-620x413 In The Midst Of Criticism Over China Policy, Trump Administration Comes Out Swinging Over Treatment Of Uighur Muslims uighur Travel Visa Ban State Department Muslims Mike Pompeo Middle East Human Rights Front Page Stories China Trade Talks China

Against the backdrop of criticism over China policy involving everything from trade to social media diplomacy, the Trump administration via The State Department announced Tuesday the imposition of travel visa bans on Chinese government and Communist officials for what State considers human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang providence.

On a call with reporters, State Department officials noted that the move was part of a broader effort by the administration to prioritize religious freedom.

“Promotion of protection of religious freedom is a major goal” of the administration, one official noted.

Officials also noted the decision was unprecedented and that the U.S. was the first to take action on it. The hope is that other nations will eventually follow suit in condemning the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China, who are prevented from making certain purchases, staying in hotels, or obtaining  passports. There are also thought to be more than a million Uighur Muslims detained in Chinese camps, and the rest are surveilled by the state.

The justification for the visa ban, which will prevent Chinese officials or their family members from traveling to the U.S.,  according to one State Department official was a direct response to the policy of mistreatment on Uighur Muslims on the basis of “preemptive counterterrorism.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has referred to treatment of the Uighur community in China as the “stain of the century,” made a statement Tuesday explaining the decision.

Pompeo is imposing the restrictions on government leaders and Communist Party officials who are found responsible for or complicit in the detention and abuse of Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs and other minority Muslim groups in Xinjiang, according to the State Department. Travel by those officials’ family members will also be restricted.

“The Chinese government has instituted a highly repressive campaign against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other members of Muslim minority groups,” Pompeo said in a statement Tuesday. “The United States calls on the People’s Republic of China to immediately end its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.”

The travel ban comes a day after the U.S. added 28 Chinese companies to a blacklist over treatment of Uighur Muslims, angering Chinese authorities in the process.

“There is no such thing as these so-called ‘human rights issues’ as claimed by the United States,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. “These accusations are nothing more than an excuse for the United States to deliberately interfere in China’s internal affairs.”

State Department officials said Tuesday they hope the decision will help potential allies, particularly ones located in Muslim-heavy countries in the Middle East, build a coalition to address the Uighur abuse and incentivize them to begin accepting the “scale and scope of the problem.”

 

The post In The Midst Of Criticism Over China Policy, Trump Administration Comes Out Swinging Over Treatment Of Uighur Muslims appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group mike-pompeo-presser-nk-300x170 In The Midst Of Criticism Over China Policy, Trump Administration Comes Out Swinging Over Treatment Of Uighur Muslims uighur Travel Visa Ban State Department Muslims Mike Pompeo Middle East Human Rights Front Page Stories China Trade Talks China  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

The NBA Isn’t Caving to China’s Not-So-Subtle Hint that It Should Censor Players and Coaches

Westlake Legal Group fb5f6ccb-b576-4b3e-b2ea-a1c5df0489c6-620x317 The NBA Isn’t Caving to China’s Not-So-Subtle Hint that It Should Censor Players and Coaches Sports south park Politics NBA Markets Front Page Stories Featured Story China Censorship Business Blizzard basketball Allow Media Exception

Lately, China has gotten a bit big for its britches when it comes to its views on America’s free speech and punishing those who practice it against China. As a result, many companies have begun kowtowing to the Chinese in an effort to stay in its totalitarian government’s good graces and reap the financial reward.

Recently, three American institutions have run afoul of the Chinese government, and responses have run the gauntlet.

One of these is the NBA, which had come into controversy with China when the coach of the Houston Rockets tweeted out his support for the Hong Kong protesters against China.

Immediately, the owner of the Houston Rockets, Tilman Fertitta, made it clear that Morey doesn’t speak for the Houston Rockets and that the basketball team is not a political organization.

And fair enough. Sports teams should stay absolutely apolitical, but Fertitta’s statement was made with the intention to appease a dictatorial nation against his own coach who tweeted out support for a movement that has sprung up that promotes freedom.

Morey deleted his tweet and essentially bent over backward to make sure the Chinese market was “appreciated.”

China issued a statement which doesn’t so subtly hint that the NBA should do something to make sure statements against China are never heard again according to The Hollywood Reporter:

In a news briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, “These foreign teams should know the opinions of China’s citizens, or it will not work,” according to local reports. He also said that the NBA “knows what it needs to do,” seeming to suggest some kind of punishment of Morey or a more effusive apology was in order.

China censored two broadcasts of NBA preseason games in direct response to Morey’s tweet as a warning shot to the NBA that it would do better to take its advice and silence those under its umbrella when it comes to matters in China. They also noted that they were going to “immediately investigate all cooperation and exchanges involving the NBA.”

The NBA apparently isn’t going to give China what it wants, however.

Issuing a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said noted that China and America have two different ways of conducting themselves from within their culture, but ultimately the NBA will stick with the American values of free speech according to THR.

“It is inevitable that people around the world – including from America and China – will have different viewpoints over different issues. It is not the role of the NBA to adjudicate those differences,” said Silver.

“However, the NBA will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues. We simply could not operate that way,” the statement continued.

The NBA is right to take this route. China has been taking its imposition to censor American enterprises to new levels, threatening that not doing so would cause the totalitarian government to ban their product within China and cause them to miss out on the billions of dollars it can afford them.

Two other instances have recently gotten the public’s attention in this regard, and we’ve seen complete opposites in terms of reactions.

The show South Park actively pointed out the ridiculous censorship imposed on American companies by China in order to maintain a position in its market. China responded by banning any trace of South Park from its television and internet. Not to be intimidated, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker issued a middle finger of an apology to China.

(READ: South Park Creators Matt Stone And Trey Parker Gave China The “Apology” It Deserves)

Blizzard Entertainment, the popular video game maker, also ran afoul of Chinese censors when one of its E-Sports championship contenders in the game “Hearthstone” publicly made a statement that supported the Hong Kong protesters during a post-victory interview.

Blizzard proactively suspended the player, took away any cash winnings he had accumulated, and even fired the two newscasters that were conducting the interview.

(READ: Blizzard Entertainment Suspends Player From Championships After He Voices Support For Hong Kong Protests)

As you can see, South Park sided with freedom while Blizzard cowered at the mere threat of censorship.

Both South Park and the NBA are right to tell China that it won’t cave to its censorship requirements, as doing so will effectively put many businesses at the whim of the Chinese government. Themes, philosophies, and pretty much anything that runs contrary to the Chinese government’s hold on the people will be silenced here on American shores where we celebrate freedom.

We can’t have that.

In truth, many companies should be taking South Park’s route and telling China that it’s not only not going to prevent Americans from practicing free speech, but that its philosophies of censorship and tyranny are asinine.

Our culture cannot be ruled by China. That is one of the slipperiest slopes you could ever set foot on.

The post The NBA Isn’t Caving to China’s Not-So-Subtle Hint that It Should Censor Players and Coaches appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group fb5f6ccb-b576-4b3e-b2ea-a1c5df0489c6-300x153 The NBA Isn’t Caving to China’s Not-So-Subtle Hint that It Should Censor Players and Coaches Sports south park Politics NBA Markets Front Page Stories Featured Story China Censorship Business Blizzard basketball Allow Media Exception  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Woke NBA coach Steve Kerr: Lemme get back to you on this whole “China violating human rights” thing

Westlake Legal Group s Woke NBA coach Steve Kerr: Lemme get back to you on this whole “China violating human rights” thing Xinjiang warriors uighur The Blog steve kerr rockets NBA Human Rights concentration camps China

It is passing strange that this outspoken figure, normally so willing and able to comment on injustices in the United States, has no thoughts whatsoever on Hong Kong’s uprising. He was asked for comment last night and … total blank:

It’s not as if Kerr doesn’t keep up on current events, or as if western media hasn’t covered Hong Kong, or as if the NBA has no presence in China that might make major political developments there of some interest to him.

Somehow this issue ended up in his blind spot.

Does he have any thoughts generally about how China does or doesn’t respect human rights? For instance, here’s a wacky fact that I didn’t know until today but which Kerr, an NBA coach, might be aware of. Not only does the NBA have a cozy relationship with Chinese totalitarians, it’s so cozy that the league operates a training center in Xinjiang province — the same place where China is interning millions of Uighur Muslims. That’s a bit like staging a hoops barnstorming tour of Poland circa 1944. Slate wrote about it last year:

Operating in such a place seems antithetical to the public stance of a league that has recently gone out of its way to tout its progressive, social-justice bona fides. After the Trump travel ban targeting seven Muslim-majority nations, prominent NBA figures took the side of the critics. League commissioner Adam Silver took the unusual step of criticizing the ban, saying “it goes against the fundamental values and the fundamental ingredients of what makes for a great NBA.” Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy compared the ban to Hitler registering the Jews.

NBA stars like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony have condemned police violence and racism in the United States, while players and executives have protested the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant children from their parents. According to his LinkedIn page, the NBA executive George Land oversees the Xinjiang training center. On Twitter, Land’s most recent activity is a retweet of the MSNBC host Chris Hayes condemning the U.S. separation of thousands of mothers from their children. But what about Xinjiang? Thousands of Uighur children are reportedly languishing in orphanages, awaiting their parents’ release from the concentration camps. The NBA didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment for this story. Nor did Land. Nor did China’s foreign ministry.

I ask this in all seriousness: Have any NBA players or personnel toured a Chinese, ahem, “detention facility” as part of the league’s charm offensive towards Beijing?

We’re not going to see an old photo emerge of Kerr and, say, Steph Curry standing outside barbed wire smiling and giving a thumbs-up, are we?

You’ll be pleased to know that the visceral disgust which the Daryl Morey episode has evoked in Americans of all stripes is putting pressure on the league. Adam Silver issued a statement last night affirming that the NBA respects Morey’s right to his opinion, which I assume is a nudge to the Rockets not to fire him as GM in order to placate China. Whether Silver would have felt so strongly about Morey’s rights had there been no bipartisan domestic backlash I leave for you to surmise.

Note the last paragraph about basketball being a unifying force. Once upon a time, the argument in favor of U.S. corporate outreach to China was that our values would gradually infect them and transform their culture. How’s that infect-and-transform dynamic working out in the context of the Morey episode, do you think?

Anyway, is Silver’s statement good enough for China? He’s giving them nearly everything they want here. With the eyes of international media upon him and Americans hooting at him to defend western liberalism, he’s offered not a word of support for Hong Kong here nor a word of criticism for China. But maybe that’s not good enough: News broke this morning that Chinese state TV and the local digital carrier have suspended coverage of the NBA preseason to protest Morey’s comments. The clash of civilizations doesn’t get any starker than this quote:

“I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear … that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression,” Silver said in an interview with Kyodo News in Tokyo Japan.

CCTV did not agree with Silver’s remarks.

“We are strongly dissatisfied and we oppose Silver’s claim to support Morey’s right of free expression. We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech,” CCTV said in its statement in Chinese, which was translated by CNBC.

One of the key points in this dispute (as well as the subject of last week’s now-famous “South Park” episode) is the west tacitly agreeing to impose Chinese censorship standards on its own corporate culture in exchange for access to China’s humongous market. Silver’s trying to adjust the terms of that devil’s bargain here — the league won’t criticize China if it decides it wants to start feeding the Uighurs into a wood-chipper, say, but it’s also not going to censor its own personnel who might have a problem with it. Go figure that that’s not good enough for a totalitarian state. In China, when a subordinate makes trouble for the leadership, he’s dealt with. Silver is refusing to punish Morey. Ergo, the whole league must be punished by losing its preseason TV coverage.

That’s one part of what’s driving the outrage, a growing awareness among Americans that China’s illiberal views on freedom of thought are leaking into corporate America via executives’ bank accounts. The NBA isn’t the worst offender but it may be the most visible one. It’s one thing to have some faceless Facebook PR apparatchik issue a statement that’s soft on China, it’s another to watch James farking Harden reassure China that he loves the country after his GM offered the tiniest gesture of support for Hong Kong protesters. What’s especially galling is that people of wealth and influence enjoy a freedom to dissent that the average wage slave can only dream of. If you work at a Chinese-owned factory in the midwest for 20 bucks an hour, your thoughts on Hong Kong may affect whether you can put food on the table. If you’re James Harden or Adam Silver, you don’t have that problem. Except you do, apparently — maybe more so than the factory worker because so much money is at stake. It takes a lot of dough to buy global silence on concentration camps but the Chinese have figured it out.

Inescapably, though, some of the outrage at the NBA is a simple matter of contempt for their hypocrisy. As many others have noted over the past 36 hours, the league is known for — and celebrates — its wokeness. People like Kerr and Gregg Popovich are beloved figures among sports-loving liberals for their willingness to chime in on matters of social justice, and have received glowing coverage in the press for it. I don’t begrudge them their greater interest in American injustices than Chinese mass oppression either; it’s natural to worry more about how your friends are being mistreated than people a world away. But that rule of thumb isn’t foolproof: Surely we can agree that once the level of foreign oppression reaches the concentration-camp stage, some reflection on whether you should continue to do business there while ignoring what’s happening is in order. And yet here’s Steve Kerr, the woke coach, playing dumb right in front of reporters.

What we’re learning, in other words, is that most or all of these “outspoken” A-holes are quivering frauds when speaking up might cost them something instead of earning them another sweetheart post on Deadspin or wherever.

Frauds. Next time they to purport to you lecture you about your flaccid social-justice conscience, ask them if they’ve been to the new training facility in Xinjiang yet. Exit question: Could the Rockets maybe offer to have Morey summarily execute this guy as a goodwill gesture to China?

The post Woke NBA coach Steve Kerr: Lemme get back to you on this whole “China violating human rights” thing appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group s-300x159 Woke NBA coach Steve Kerr: Lemme get back to you on this whole “China violating human rights” thing Xinjiang warriors uighur The Blog steve kerr rockets NBA Human Rights concentration camps China  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

China Is a Minefield, and Foreign Firms Keep Hitting New Tripwires

BEIJING — For international companies looking to do business in China, the rules were once simple. Don’t talk about the 3 T’s: Tibet, Taiwan and the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

No longer. Fast-changing geopolitical tensions, growing nationalism and the rise of social media in China have made it increasingly difficult for multinationals to navigate commerce in the Communist country. As the National Basketball Association has discovered with a tweet about the Hong Kong protests, tripwires abound. Take the “wrong” stance on one of any number of issues — Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, for instance — and you risk upsetting a country of 1.4 billion consumers and losing access to a hugely profitable market.

Now, multinational companies are increasingly struggling with one question: how to be apolitical in an increasingly politicized and punitive China.

“You used to know what would get everyone fired up,” said James McGregor, chairman of the greater China region for the consulting firm APCO Worldwide. “And now you don’t know. You just wake up and discover something new.”

Until recently, the issues that made China angry were fairly predictable. Earlier this year, the German company Leica Camera created a stir with a promotional video featuring the “Tank Man,” the unknown person who boldly confronted a convoy of tanks during the bloody 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement. (Leica says it did not commission the film.)

Around the same time, eagle-eyed Chinese internet users began calling out companies for not clearly indicating on websites, customer surveys and products that certain territories claimed by China, like Tibet and the self-governing island of Taiwan, were part of the country. Gap, Marriott, United Airlines and others were forced to make internal adjustments and, in some cases, apologize.

This summer, when antigovernment protests in Hong Kong began to heat up, such sensitivities reached new heights. And China lashed out more aggressively, in part because it was playing defense against growing global support for the demonstrators.

The N.B.A. has been in damage-control mode over the issue for days. On Friday, Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, posted a message on Twitter that said: “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Not long after, Mr. Morey’s tweet was deleted and the league quickly began damage control.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 08china-biz2-articleLarge China Is a Minefield, and Foreign Firms Keep Hitting New Tripwires Social Media Politics and Government National Basketball Assn Morey, Daryl Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Demonstrations, Protests and Riots China basketball

Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, expressed support for the protesters in Hong Kong with a post on Twitter.CreditMichael Stravato for The New York Times

But anger still simmered. Social media platforms like WeChat and Sina Weibo were flooded with messages declaring a boycott against the N.B.A., which has a huge fan base in China. On Tuesday afternoon, CCTV, the state broadcaster, canceled plans to broadcast preseason N.B.A. games. Previously, Tencent Sports, a popular sports broadcaster, had announced that it would stop all live streaming and coverage of the Houston Rockets.

“The N.B.A. has been in cooperation with China for many years,” Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a regular news briefing on Tuesday. “It knows clearly in its heart what to say and what to do.”

The league has also been getting flak in the United States for appearing to kowtow to China, prompting a longer, more reflective statement on Tuesday. While the N.B.A. commissioner, Adam Silver, continued to express the league’s “affinity” for China, he also said that it couldn’t regulate its employees’ speech.

For businesses, China’s national ire has tended to focus on a single issue, despite the changing targets: the country’s sovereignty.

Earlier this summer, Givenchy, Coach and Versace each apologized to China for producing T-shirts that seemed to identify Hong Kong, along with other places claimed by Beijing, as an independent country. They all stopped selling the clothes.

Navigating the potential for backlash in China’s commercial landscape now involves managing not just products, but employees and anyone else affiliated with a company.

As the pro-democracy movement took hold in Hong Kong this summer, Cathay Pacific Airways, the city’s flagship airline, came under immense pressure from Beijing to discipline employees who were sympathetic to the protesters. In a matter of days, Cathay’s chief executive was replaced and several employees, including a pilot, were fired.

On Tuesday, the American video game company Blizzard suspended a Hong Kong player and rescinded his prize money after he donned goggles and a respirator — items that have come to symbolize the protests — and called for the liberation of the city in a post-match interview. Blizzard is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, which is partially owned by the Chinese company Tencent.

In a statement on Tuesday, Blizzard said the player had violated a competition rule barring any act that “brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image.”

“While we stand by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our e-sports competitions must abide by the official competition rules,” the company said.

The political land mines aren’t always easy to see.

The upscale jeweler Tiffany found itself at the center of a social media firestorm on Monday after posting an image of a model covering her eye with her right hand. To many Chinese internet users, the gesture evoked another symbol of the Hong Kong protests: a woman shot in the eye with a police beanbag round during a demonstration, whose image later appeared in countless posters and memes.

The photo posted by Tiffany had been taken in May, before the protests started. But it was a no-win situation for the company, which had already warned investors that it would be hurt by the drop in tourism amid the protests in Hong Kong, its fourth-largest market by sales. Mainland China is a much larger market, and the company has been rapidly expanding its presence there.

The photo “was in no way intended to be a political statement of any kind,” a spokesman for Tiffany said in an emailed statement, after the offending tweet was deleted. “We regret that it may be perceived as such, and in turn have removed the image from our digital and social media channels and will discontinue its use effective immediately.”

The backlash can go both ways.

In an effort not to run afoul of the mainland, Vans recently removed several entries from its annual sneaker design contest that alluded to the protests in Hong Kong. After that, several streetwear stores in Hong Kong pulled all Vans products from their shelves.

“Creativity is one of the keys to solving our social problems,” said Second Kill, a streetwear store in the Mong Kok district, in an Instagram post announcing its decision to stop selling Vans products. “Neither creativity nor public opinion can be erased.”

The N.B.A. on Tuesday appeared to temper its earlier apology over Mr. Morey’s tweet, seemingly to respond to criticism in both China and the United States.

For those “who question our motivation, this is about more than growing our business,” Mr. Silver, the league’s commissioner, said in a statement. He said basketball could be “an important form of people-to-people exchange that deepens ties” but noted that the two countries had different political systems.

“It is inevitable that people around the world — including from America and China — will have different viewpoints over different issues. It is not the role of the N.B.A. to adjudicate those issues,” Mr. Silver said in the statement.

“However,” he added, “the N.B.A. will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on those issues.”

Steven Lee Myers contributed reporting from Beijing. Claire Fu and Zoe Mou contributed research from Beijing.

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As U.S. Takes Aim at Chinese Tech Firms, Trump Signals a Strategy Shift

Westlake Legal Group 08blacklist1-facebookJumbo As U.S. Takes Aim at Chinese Tech Firms, Trump Signals a Strategy Shift United States Politics and Government United States International Relations Uighurs (Chinese Ethnic Group) Trump, Donald J Surveillance of Citizens by Government Megvii Technology Ltd Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co Ltd facial recognition software Embargoes and Sanctions Defense and Military Forces Computers and the Internet Computer Vision China

SHANGHAI — The world has largely sat by for nearly two years as China detained more than one million people, mostly Muslims and members of minority ethnic groups, in re-education camps to force them to embrace the Communist Party.

Now, the Trump administration has taken the first public step by a major world government toward punishing Beijing. In doing so, it is opening up a new front in the already worsening relationship between Washington and Beijing: human rights and the dystopian world of digital surveillance.

Trump administration officials on Monday placed eight Chinese companies and a number of police departments on a blacklist that forbids them to buy American-made technology like microchips, software and other vital components. The companies it targeted are at the vanguard of China’s surveillance and artificial intelligence ambitions, with many of them selling increasingly sophisticated systems used by governments to track people.

The White House cited their business in Xinjiang, a region of northwestern China that is home to a largely Muslim minority group known as the Uighurs. The United States government says more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other minorities have been locked in detention camps there.

The administration’s move suggests that President Trump is increasingly willing to listen to the advice of American officials focused on the strategic challenges posed by China and who are concerned about its human rights abuses, even if Mr. Trump himself never seems to pay much attention to those.

The new entrants to the blacklist were announced just days before trade talks were set to begin between American and Chinese officials, likely putting a chill over the negotiations.

More broadly, it signals the White House’s willingness to take aim at China’s technological dreams. China has plowed billions of dollars into companies developing advanced hardware and software to catch up with the United States. Some of the companies added to the list on Monday are among the world’s most valuable artificial-intelligence start-ups.

Much of that technology — including facial recognition and computer vision — can be used to track people. That includes smartphone tracking, voice-pattern identification and systems that track individuals across cities through powerful cameras. Washington officials have grown increasingly worried about China’s ambitions to export its systems elsewhere, including places known for human rights abuses.

“This is an important first step in making some of the companies that have benefited the most from the re-education system in Xinjiang feel the consequences of their actions,” said Darren Byler, an anthropologist at the University of Washington who studies the plight of the Uighurs.

He said the move signaled that abuse of minority groups in Xinjiang “is real and justifies a political and economic response.”

It is also a potentially groundbreaking use of a powerful tool that the American government typically uses against terrorists. The Chinese companies and police departments were placed on what is called an entity list, which forbids them to buy sensitive American exports unless Washington grants American companies specific permission to sell to them.

Use of the entity list over a human rights issue may be a first, said Julian Ku, a professor of constitutional and international law at Hofstra University.

“As far as I know, it was the first time Commerce explicitly cited human rights as a foreign policy interest of the U.S. for purposes of export controls,” he said, referring to the Department of Commerce, which manages the entity lists. “This is not an implausible reading of the regulations, but it is new and has potentially very broad applicability.”

Geng Shuang, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in a briefing on Tuesday that the White House was using human rights as an excuse to punish Chinese companies. Many of the companies offer a wide array of products outside of surveillance, including medical tools that diagnose tumors, automatic translation services and even social media filters that slim the waist.

“This goes against the basic principles of international relations, it interferes in China’s internal affairs and it goes against China’s national security,” he said, adding, “There is no human rights issue in Xinjiang.”

The immediate impact on the Chinese companies is likely to be minimal, since many have stockpiled essential supplies, but they could feel increasing pain if they stay on the blacklist for months or years.

Perhaps more important, it can put a cloud over the companies’ reputation, limiting their sales in the United States or elsewhere and keeping them from hiring the world’s best technology talent.

“The U.S. move today puts up a big roadblock on the road to internationalization,” said Matt Sheehan, a fellow at MacroPolo, the think tank of the Paulson Institute.

“Most global technology companies are setting up labs abroad, partnering with the best universities around the world and looking to recruit top talent from everywhere,” he said. “That all just got a lot harder now that they’re marked with the scarlet letter of the entity list.”

The move follows more than a year of internal debate over how to punish China for its persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang.

Senior officials on the National Security Council and in the State Department have pushed for the use of the entity list to target Chinese companies supplying surveillance technology to the security forces in Xinjiang. They have also urged Mr. Trump to approve Global Magnitsky Act sanctions that would penalize Chinese officials involved in the abuses and bar them from traveling to the United States.

But top American trade negotiators, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have cautioned against policies that would upset trade talks. Mr. Trump has said he wants to reach a trade deal with China.

Until now, other top officials, most notably Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have denounced China’s policies in Xinjiang but not enacted punitive measures. This month, American customs officials blocked products from a Chinese garment maker in Xinjiang, but they had held off on stronger action.

The Chinese companies on the list included major surveillance camera maker Hikvision and the well-funded artificial-intelligence start-ups SenseTime and Megvii.

SenseTime said it set “high ethical standards for AI technologies,” while Megvii said that it required “clients not to weaponize our technology or solutions or use them for illegal purposes.” It added that it had generated no revenue from within Xinjiang in the first half of 2019.

New York Times reporting showed that four of the companies on the list — Yitu, Hikvision, Megvii and SenseTime — helped build systems across China that sought to use facial recognition to automate the detection of Uighurs.

Government procurement documents, company marketing materials and official government releases tied all eight companies to various business operations and sales in Xinjiang. The many local Xinjiang police bureaus also on the list buy commercial American technology like Intel microchips and Microsoft Windows software, according to procurement documents.

Mr. Trump’s next step could be imposing sanctions on specific Chinese officials working in Xinjiang. Among the officials discussed is Chen Quanguo, a Politburo member who is the party chief in Xinjiang and an architect of the system of internment camps and surveillance.

The blacklist action is a sign that strategic China hawks have become even more influential in the administration in recent weeks.

Matthew Pottinger, the senior director for Asia and an architect of policies aimed at countering China, was promoted to deputy national security adviser last month. That came after Robert O’Brien, the administration’s top hostage negotiator, replaced John R. Bolton as national security adviser. Mr. O’Brien has written that China poses an enormous challenge to the United States.

“This Xinjiang package has been in the works now for months,” said Samm Sacks, a cybersecurity policy fellow at New America, a think tank. “So the fact that it comes out now just ahead of the next round of trade talks sends a signal from those in the administration who want no deal.”

“So far Beijing has been quite measured in its response to the U.S. government,” she said. “That probably is over.”

Paul Mozur reported from Shanghai, and Edward Wong from Hong Kong. Lin Qiqing contributed research from Shanghai.

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The NBA, South Park and Communist China: The Very High Price of Fake ‘Free Trade’

Westlake Legal Group China-NBA The NBA, South Park and Communist China: The Very High Price of Fake ‘Free Trade’ trade Technology south park Silicon Valley NBA national basketball association Front Page Stories Front Page Free trade fake free trade fair trade Communist China China Censorship big tech

 

Behold the 21st Century’s diet version of an “international incident”:

Could a Tweet Sink the (National Basketball Association) NBA’s Business Relationships in China? It’s Complicated:

“(A) single tweet from a general manager supporting protesters in Hong Kong could threaten that relationship and affect the way the public here and abroad views the league’s intentions on social issues.

“On Friday, Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey tweeted an image – since deleted – that read ‘Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.’”

The world comes to a grinding over a single Tweet.  A Tweet – in defense of freedom-seeking protestors in an appendage to the world’s largest Communist country.

You want an international incident?  Thirty-two years ago, Ronald Reagan demanded of the half-the-planet-dominating Communist Soviet Union – standing in front of the the Wall in question:

Tear down this wall.”

Reagan did not subsequently apologize and delete the speech from America’s archives.  He rightly, righteously stood by it – and two years later, the Wall fell.

At stake for Reagan and the planet – were the lives and freedom of literally billions of people.

At stake for the NBA?  Some money a billion-plus pauper Chinese Communism victims – watch their overlords hand billionaire NBA team owners.

As previously described – a Diet International Incident.

These are the types of awfulness we get – when we sacrifice EVERYTHING on the altar of Fake “Free Trade.”

Communist China knows how feckless just about everyone on the planet is.

China’s CCTV, Tencent Pull Plug on NBA Broadcasts Over Hong Kong Row

These aren’t even regular season games.  They’re exhibition games.  “Preseason” games.  Glorified practices.

Nevertheless – the NBA snapped to:

The NBA Chooses China’s Money Over Hong Kong’s Human Rights:

“Daryl Morey is now being forced to apologize because he… supports Democracy?”

Indeed he is.  Because no sacrifice is to great – to maintain the faux veneer of Fake “Free Trade.”

When it comes to choosing between the lives and freedom of 7.4 million Hong Kong citizens – and the TV revenue generated by its exhibition games – the NBA’s choice is rapidly and readily clear.

Please keep in mind:

When NBA personnel bad mouth the United States’ government – the NBA has zero problem with it.

Ten Times LeBron James Stood Up to Donald Trump

Steph Curry Spoke Out and Burned Donald Trump

Gregg Popovich: President Trump Is ‘Soulless Coward’

Steve Kerr Doubles Down on Donald Trump Criticism

But when confronted with, you know, an actual totalitarian government….

Outspoken Warriors Coach Steve Kerr No Comments NBA’s China Controversy

Which brings us to twenty-two-years-and-still-going cartoon show South Park.

China Banned South Park After the Show Made Fun of Chinese Censorship:

“In a case of life imitating art imitating life, the Chinese government has purged all references to South Park from the country’s highly restricted internet – following an episode of the show that criticized Chinese censorship.”

A spectacular line from the episode:

“You gotta lower your ideals of freedom if you want to suck on the warm teat of China.”

Indeed you do.

South Park’s response to Communist China censoring them was…a little more testosterone-infused than was the NBA’s:

“Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts.  We too love money more than freedom and democracy.  Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all.  Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10pm!  Long live the Great Communist Party pf China!  May this autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful!  We good now China?”

Cartoonists going – where millionaire athletes and coaches and their billionaire bosses fear to tread.  Because money.

But let’s not pick on just the NBA.  Some far more serious industries capitulate to Communist China – with far more serious consequences.

How does Communist China purge “all references to South Park from the country’s highly restricted internet” – ???  How does Communist China make its Internet so very restrictive?

Our Big Tech companies – are more than happy to help them do it.  Because money.

Apple Bans Hong Kong Protest Location App:

“Apple has rejected a crowd-sourced app that tracks the location of protesters and police in Hong Kong.

“For some, the app was seen as a way for protesters to stay safe, while others saw it as a way to evade the police.”

You know who saw it as “a way to evade the police?”  The ChiComms.

The Hong Kong protestors are desperate to evade the ChiComm police – because the ChiComm police have been thumping Hong Kong protestors’ skulls.  And much, MUCH worse.

But Apple happily banned the app helping the Hong Kong protestors evade their ChiComm-desired fate.  Because money.

Big Tech leaves no stone unturned – if it means helping Communist China.  Because money.

US Companies Help Censor the Internet in China, Too

Big Tech at large is vociferously anti-US government.  While happily helping the Communist China government.  Because money.

Leftist Big Tech: ‘Communist China? Heck Yes. The US Military? Heck No.’

But let’s not pick on just Big Tech – and big men with small balls.

Americans companies from all sectors of the economy – have to twist themselves into pretzels to appease Communist China.  So as to be granted access to Communist China’s 1+ billion slaves.  I mean “citizens.”

China’s Communists Rewrite the Rules for Foreign Businesses:

“One hammer and sickle at a time, the Communist Party is making its way deeper into everyday Chinese life – and that includes the foreign companies doing business there….

“The party is strengthening its influence – often gaining direct decision-making power – over the international firms doing business in China.”

Because money.

And if you don’t manufacture it in Communist China – Communist China makes it REALLY difficult for you to sell it in Communist China.

What Was Free About Our Trade Relationship With China Before Trump?

Short answer – absolutely nothing:

“The lopsidedness of our trade relationship is not just a function of comparative advantage. It’s a function of a Chinese policy that excludes many categories of American goods from being traded into China at all so it can build its own industries instead.

“That is partly why, even though China buys up so many dollars, it buys so few American goods….

“America’s trade relationship with China has strengthened…a (Communist) government and has put it into a position to sell strategic technology to our allies and quiet our humanitarian objections to their persecution of Muslims and to crackdowns on Hongkongers.

“Overall, I’d say this ‘free-trading relationship’ is getting quite costly. Wouldn’t you?”

Indeed I would.

ALL of this – is a lot of things.  A lot of really, REALLY awful things.

What this absolutely is NOT – is actual free trade.

It is Fake “Free Trade.”

It is quite nauseating – the lengths people are going to defend this heinous hegemony.

Because money.

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Blizzard Entertainment Suspends Player from Championships After He Voices Support for Hong Kong Protests

Westlake Legal Group b2b7f3d0-6f6c-4587-93df-2e76f50d4b93-620x317 Blizzard Entertainment Suspends Player from Championships After He Voices Support for Hong Kong Protests Video Games Hong Kong protests Hearthstone Gaming Front Page Stories Featured Story Entertainment E Sports China Censorship Blizzard

If you grew up playing games like World of Warcraft or Diablo, or have even enjoyed more recent games like Overwatch or Hearthstone, then you’ve been playing Blizzard games.

But Blizzard has apparently sunk down to the level of appeasing China like many other American businesses have done, and suspended a player from their Hearthstone championships after the player had conducted a post-victory interview wearing goggles and a gas mask, which has become something of a symbol for the Hong Kong protests.

The player also said “Libertate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”

In response, Blizzard suspended the player for a month and removed any prize money he may have accumulated in the process. Blizzard posted a statement on their website detailing their decision:

During the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters broadcast over the weekend there was a competition rule violation during a post-match interview, involving Blitzchung and two casters, which resulted in the removal of the match VOD replay.

Upon further review we have found the action has violated the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition Rules section 6.1 (o) and is individual behavior which does not represent Blizzard or Hearthstone Esports. 6.1 (o) is found below.

Blizzard posted the rule that was violated in full:

Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms. 

It’s likely that Blizzard was operating on the “offends a portion or group of the public” part of their rules.

Why is this important?

Because it’s one more company that is caving to China as quickly as it can, joining other companies like the NBA and Disney when it comes to kissing Chinese boots in order to stay in its market.

Recently, Houston Rockets coach Daryl Morey tweeted out his support for the Hong Kong protests and was immediately denounced by the NBA and the owner of the Houston Rockets, Tilman Fertitta

As I covered earlier, China banned any mention of the show South Park from its internet after the show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker wrote an entire episode dedicated to slamming this very thing. Chinese censorship has made companies alter its product so it can sell in its market, effectively censoring our content here in America.

The only people who seemed to understand that and not cave to the Chinese are Stone and Parker, who wrote their brand of an “apology” to China.

(READ: South Park Creators Matt Stone And Trey Parker Gave China The “Apology” It Deserves)

Blizzard acted fast in order to stay afloat in the Chinese market. While I understand that a good chunk of cash comes from China, companies are effectively sacrificing the principles of free speech and freedom in order to make money.

This would be better bitten in the rear now than later, and people should make sure these companies understand that they’re American, not Chinese. That they’re better off embracing American values, not those of totalitarians.

 

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Westlake Legal Group b2b7f3d0-6f6c-4587-93df-2e76f50d4b93-300x153 Blizzard Entertainment Suspends Player from Championships After He Voices Support for Hong Kong Protests Video Games Hong Kong protests Hearthstone Gaming Front Page Stories Featured Story Entertainment E Sports China Censorship Blizzard  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

For Companies in China, Political Hazards Are Getting Harder to See

BEIJING — For international companies looking to do business in China, the rules were once simple. Don’t talk about the 3 T’s: Tibet, Taiwan and the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

No longer. Fast-changing geopolitical tensions, growing nationalism and the rise of social media in China have made it increasingly difficult for multinationals to navigate commerce in the Communist country. As the National Basketball Association has discovered with a tweet about the Hong Kong protests, tripwires abound. Take the “wrong” stance on one of any number of issues — Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, for instance — and you risk upsetting a country of 1.4 billion consumers and losing access to a hugely profitable market.

Now, multinational companies are increasingly struggling with one question: how to be apolitical in an increasingly politicized and punitive China.

“You used to know what would get everyone fired up,” said James McGregor, chairman of the greater China region for the consulting firm APCO Worldwide. “And now you don’t know. You just wake up and discover something new.”

Until recently, the issues that made China angry were fairly predictable. Earlier this year, the German company Leica Camera created a stir with a promotional video featuring the “Tank Man,” the unknown person who boldly confronted a convoy of tanks during the bloody 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement. (Leica says it did not commission the film.)

Around the same time, eagle-eyed Chinese internet users began calling out companies for not clearly indicating on websites, customer surveys and products that certain territories claimed by China, like Tibet and the self-governing island of Taiwan, were part of the country. Gap, Marriott, United Airlines and others were forced to make internal adjustments and, in some cases, apologize.

This summer, when antigovernment protests in Hong Kong began to heat up, such sensitivities reached new heights. And China lashed out more aggressively, in part because it was playing defense against growing global support for the demonstrators.

The N.B.A. has been in damage-control mode over the issue for days. On Friday, Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, posted a message on Twitter that said: “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Not long after, Mr. Morey’s tweet was deleted and the league quickly apologized.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 08china-biz2-articleLarge For Companies in China, Political Hazards Are Getting Harder to See Social Media Politics and Government National Basketball Assn Morey, Daryl Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Demonstrations, Protests and Riots China basketball

Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, expressed support for the protesters in Hong Kong with a post on Twitter.CreditMichael Stravato for The New York Times

But anger still simmered. Social media platforms like WeChat and Sina Weibo were flooded with messages declaring a boycott against the N.B.A., which has a huge fan base in China. On Tuesday afternoon, CCTV, the state broadcaster, canceled plans to broadcast preseason N.B.A. games. Previously, Tencent Sports, a popular sports broadcaster, had announced that it would stop all live streaming and coverage of the Houston Rockets.

“The N.B.A. has been in cooperation with China for many years,” Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a regular news briefing on Tuesday. “It knows clearly in its heart what to say and what to do.”

The league has also been getting flak in the United States for appearing to kowtow to China, prompting a longer, more reflective statement on Tuesday. While the N.B.A. commissioner, Adam Silver, continued to express the league’s “affinity” for China, he also said that it couldn’t regulate its employees’ speech.

For businesses, China’s national ire has tended to focus on a single issue, despite the changing targets: the country’s sovereignty.

Earlier this summer, Givenchy, Coach and Versace each apologized to China for producing T-shirts that seemed to identify Hong Kong, along with other places claimed by Beijing, as an independent country. They all stopped selling the clothes.

Navigating the potential for backlash in China’s commercial landscape now involves managing not just products, but employees and anyone else affiliated with a company.

As the pro-democracy movement took hold in Hong Kong this summer, Cathay Pacific Airways, the city’s flagship airline, came under immense pressure from Beijing to discipline employees who were sympathetic to the protesters. In a matter of days, Cathay’s chief executive was replaced and several employees, including a pilot, were fired.

On Tuesday, the American video game company Blizzard suspended a Hong Kong player and rescinded his prize money after he donned goggles and a respirator — items that have come to symbolize the protests — and called for the liberation of the city in a post-match interview. Blizzard is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, which is partially owned by the Chinese company Tencent.

In a statement on Tuesday, Blizzard said the player had violated a competition rule barring any act that “brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image.”

“While we stand by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our e-sports competitions must abide by the official competition rules,” the company said.

The political land mines aren’t always easy to see.

The upscale jeweler Tiffany found itself at the center of a social media firestorm on Monday after posting an image of a model covering her eye with her right hand. To many Chinese internet users, the gesture evoked another symbol of the Hong Kong protests: a woman shot in the eye with a police beanbag round during a demonstration, whose image later appeared in countless posters and memes.

The photo posted by Tiffany had been taken in May, before the protests started. But it was a no-win situation for the company, which had already warned investors that it would be hurt by the drop in tourism amid the protests in Hong Kong, its fourth-largest market by sales. Mainland China is a much larger market, and the company has been rapidly expanding its presence there.

The photo “was in no way intended to be a political statement of any kind,” a spokesman for Tiffany said in an emailed statement, after the offending tweet was deleted. “We regret that it may be perceived as such, and in turn have removed the image from our digital and social media channels and will discontinue its use effective immediately.”

The backlash can go both ways.

In an effort not to run afoul of the mainland, Vans recently removed several entries from its annual sneaker design contest that alluded to the protests in Hong Kong. After that, several streetwear stores in Hong Kong pulled all Vans products from their shelves.

“Creativity is one of the keys to solving our social problems,” said Second Kill, a streetwear store in the Mong Kok district, in an Instagram post announcing its decision to stop selling Vans products. “Neither creativity nor public opinion can be erased.”

The N.B.A. on Tuesday appeared to temper its earlier apology over Mr. Morey’s tweet, seemingly to respond to criticism in both China and the United States.

For those “who question our motivation, this is about more than growing our business,” Mr. Silver, the league’s commissioner, said in a statement. He said basketball could be “an important form of people-to-people exchange that deepens ties” but noted that the two countries had different political systems.

“It is inevitable that people around the world — including from America and China — will have different viewpoints over different issues. It is not the role of the N.B.A. to adjudicate those issues,” Mr. Silver said in the statement.

“However,” he added, “the N.B.A. will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on those issues.”

Steven Lee Myers contributed reporting from Beijing. Claire Fu and Zoe Mou contributed research from Beijing.

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South Park Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker Gave China the “Apology” It Deserves

Westlake Legal Group badb0ef8-f273-45d7-bae5-40dca9207c3c-620x317 South Park Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker Gave China the “Apology” It Deserves Trey Parker Sports south park Politics NBA Matt Stone Houston Rockets Hollywood Front Page Stories Featured Story Entertainment China Censorship Allow Media Exception

Yesterday, I wrote about how China had wiped any mention of the show South Park off its carefully controlled internet after creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker made an entire episode centered around Hollywood’s kissing up to Chinese censors in order to gain more money from the Chinese market.

The episode featured lead character Randy Marsh going to China to sell weed and winding up in a work camp with Winnie the Pooh, and the boys writing a biopic for their band for a Hollywood producer as a Chinese censor continues to alter their work.

(READ: South Park Now Banned In China After Episode Criticizing Chinese Censorship Airs)

Stone and Parker are no strangers to controversy and have made a career out of purposefully creating it. Many people have tried to ban or censor them in the past, including their own network, and each time, they’ve managed to win the war in one way or another. Even if they do get censored, they make sure the people censoring them get the short end of the stick in some way.

While there’s nothing Stone and Parker can do to stop China from censoring them, they are going to do what they do best, and that’s to laugh at China.

The duo decided to issue an “apology” that shouldn’t please the Chinese government in the least.

“Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts,” wrote Stone and Parker. “We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode the Wednesday at 10 p.m. Long live the great Communist Party of China. May the autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful. We good now China?”

The two tweeted out their “apology” so that the public could read it too as well as a link to the full episode you can watch for free, just so everyone knows what they’re “apologizing” for.

The situation with the NBA concerns the Houston Rockets apologizing to China after the Rockets’ coach, Daryl Morey, tweeted out his support for the Hong Kong protests.

Stone and Parker’s jab at the NBA and its slap at China are well deserved. Too many businesses in America are going out of their way to please totalitarians just so they can get some of their money. The fact that we’re bending over backward for them and siding with them against freedom is disgusting.

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Westlake Legal Group badb0ef8-f273-45d7-bae5-40dca9207c3c-300x153 South Park Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker Gave China the “Apology” It Deserves Trey Parker Sports south park Politics NBA Matt Stone Houston Rockets Hollywood Front Page Stories Featured Story Entertainment China Censorship Allow Media Exception  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com