Boston Celtics’ Enes Kanter posted a video message on Instagram.© Instagram
An NBA player has attacked Chinese President Xi Jinping as “a brutal dictator”, declaring “Tibet belongs to the Tibetan people”, and runs the risk of rekindling tensions between Beijing and the US basketball league. . Enes Kanter, who plays as a center for the Boston Celtics, wrote on Twitter: “Dear Brutal Dictator XI JINPING and the Chinese Government. Tibet belongs to the Tibetan people!” “I stand with my Tibetan brothers and sisters, and I support their calls for freedom,” he added, next to a photo of a pair of sneakers adorned with Tibetan iconography and with the slogan ‘Free Tibet’.
Tibet has alternated between independence and control by China over the centuries, claiming that it ‘peacefully liberated’ the rugged plateau in 1951 and brought infrastructure and education to the previously underdeveloped territory.
But human rights activists and exiles say the Chinese central government is practicing religious oppression, torture, forced sterilization and cultural erosion through forced re-education.
Kanter’s message – which he defends for various political reasons – was also posted on Facebook.
Global brands, including the NBA, have been consumed by PR crises in recent years and have experienced financial consequences in China after touching on politically sensitive topics.
In 2019, Chinese broadcasters dropped the league after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted a message of support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
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