WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday (Oct 11) urged the NBA to stand up to China, wading into a row as Beijing pressures the basketball league after a team official expressed support for demonstrations in Hong Kong.
The top US diplomat was applauded for the comments in a speech to a Christian group in Nashville as he denounced China's treatment of its mostly Muslim Uighur population.
"The Chinese Communist Party is detaining and abusing more than one million Uighur Muslims in internment camps in Xinjiang," Pompeo said.
"The pages of George Orwell's 1984 are coming to life there. I wish the NBA would acknowledge that," he added.
In an interview with a Nashville television network, Pompeo said Chinese companies in the United States were "entitled to speak their piece" if they wanted to criticise US policies.
"American businesses and American companies should demand that those same rights are extended to them," he told WKRN-TV.
"This all started with a singular tweet. I think the Chinese Communist Party can withstand a singular tweet. I hope that they'll begin to get this right," he said.
The row began when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey wrote a since-deleted tweet in support of demonstrations in Hong Kong, whose semi-autonomous status under Beijing is seen as threatened.
That prompted the Chinese government to end sponsorships for the team and league and drop planned NBA telecasts in China, with huge NBA logRead More – Source