Wait, NBA is Now Banned in China?

Source: China Daily

The CCTV Sports Channel of the China Media Group issued a statement on Tuesday, deciding to immediately suspend current broadcast arrangements of the NBA preseason (China Games) and immediately investigate all cooperation and exchanges involving the NBA.

The statement said that the channel is strongly dissatisfied and opposed the announcement that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver claimed to support Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey's right to free speech.

Any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech, the statement said.

Adam Silver, who is participating in the event in Japan, told Kyodo News in an interview the league's stance was firm that Daryl Morey was free to express himself and that the league backed his right to do so.

NBA's digital partner Tencent also announced the suspension of broadcast arrangements of the NBA preseason (China Games) in protest of Morey's tweet.

Commenting on CCTV's announcement to suspend NBA broadcasting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing on Tuesday that the stance of China is very clear from the statements of Consulate-General of the People's Republic of China in Houston, China Basketball Association, and the commercial partners of Houston Rockets Team in China.

"I would advise you to pay attention to the reactions and attitudes of the Chinese people about this. Lacking knowledge of the minds and hearts of the Chinese people while trying to build communication and cooperation won't work," said Geng.

Cai Xukun, Chinese pop star and NBA's ambassador announced suspension of cooperation with the league after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's comments on Hong Kong triggered widespread condemnation.

Besides Cai, a number of other Chinese stars have pulled out of the celebrations for the NBA China Games 2019.

Pop group UNINE, singer and actor Fan Chengcheng, actors Bai Jingting, Li Yifeng and Wu Jinyan, as well as stage actor and singer Zheng Yunlong, have issued statements through their studios and Sina Weibo accounts as well.

They said they will not participate in the Weibo NBA Fan Night to be held Oct 9 and the NBA China Games 2019.

Many supported the stars' statement online, with some saying the NBA's door to China has been closed by Morey.