West Wing and The Handmaid’s Tale star Bradley Whitford has done what few Hollywood or sports figures would: call out the National Basketball Association (NBA) for continuing to do business with China while they remain silent about the communist regime’s campaign to crush those advocating for democracy in Hong Kong and their persecution of Uighur Muslims being held in concentration camps in Xinjiang.
The NBA has a large audience in China due to the popularity of basketball. However, the association has repeatedly refused to condemn the communist government’s egregious human rights abuses while repeatedly affirming their support for the far-left political movement Black Lives Matter. Criticism of the NBA’s hypocrisy on China has largely been confined to conservatives and human rights campaigners. Yet Whitford, a staunch Democratic Party supporter who recently warned the Republican Party’s approach to the Chinese coronavirus “may well kill us all,” has now joined China’s critics in calling out the NBA.
“Hey @NBA. Do you care about what’s happening in Hong Kong?” Bradley Whitford wrote. “Or the fact that the Chinese are building concentration camps for the Uighurs? Or do you only take principled stands if they won’t hurt your bottom line?”
Hey @NBA. Do you care about what’s happening in Hong Kong? Or the fact that the Chinese are building concentration camps for the Uighurs? Or do you only take principled stands if they won’t hurt your bottom line?
— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) July 6, 2020
The NBA has come under intense criticism for its refusal to condemn China’s oppressive government. There are roughly two million Muslim minorities being held in over “1,300 concentration camps” in China according to a report by the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Breitbart News has reported that several companies, including Amazon, Apple, Google, Nike, and General Motors have benefited financially from China’s enslavement and forced labor of Muslim minorities.
China has forced “hundreds of thousands” of Uyghur women to have abortions and to take birth control over the past four years, according to the Associated Press. Last month month, President Trump signed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act into law. The act requires sanctions be put on Chinese officials taking part in the mass incarceration of ethnic Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China.
But the communist regime has spent decades buying influence in American media market. And China has leveraged it’s power in American professional basketball and has wielded that influence to punish the NBA. Last year, China rebuked Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey for declaring his support for the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong.
The NBA even went on to describe themselves as feeling “extremely disappointed by the inappropriate comment” and bemoaned that he had “seriously hurt the feelings of Chinese fans.” In retaliation to Morey’s comments, China is no longer airing NBA games, leading to millions in lost earnings for the league.
China’s response has led to the NBA scrambling to repair the relationship and recoup lost earnings. Last week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in an interview with TIME magazine that he hoped that there could be “mutual respect” between America and China’s “values.”
“You know, as I’ve said before, we come to China with a certain set of core American values and principles,” Silver said insisted. “And I understand also they have a different form of government, and they have a different view of how things have been done, how things should be done. And hopefully, we can find mutual respect for each other.”