Change is coming and no one can stop it. NO ONE!!!

Enes Kanter: Boston Celtics basketball player / NBA star has doubled down on his damning criticism of China’s government in a series of strongly-worded posts on social media.

Last week, Kanter attracted attention for slamming Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “brutal dictator” and declared that “Tibet belongs to the Tibetan people”, potentially sparking further tensions between Beijing and the NBA.In a video posted to Twitter, he expressed support for the Free Tibet movement.

His name has since been blocked from Chinese social media site Weibo, and the streaming of Celtics games has reportedly been cancelled."My message for the Chinese government is free Tibet," Kanter told his followers. ."Tibet belongs to Tibetans." China has long been accused of suppressing cultural and religious freedom in Tibet, a remote and mainly Buddhist region.China's foreign ministry has accused Kanter of"trying to get attention"

On the same day as his video, Kanter showed off shoes with the phrase "Free Tibet" designed by Australia-based Chinese dissident cartoonist Badiucao. He had planned to wear them for his match against the New York Knicks but did not play. It's unclear whether the decision not to play Kanter was related to his political message.

The bigger picture of this controversy is that with the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics around the corner, politics and sports appear to be on a colliding path. Activists have been urging a boycott of the Beijing Olympics over the country's human rights record, while China has repeatedly slammed these calls as "politicization of sports".

Kanter has been on something of a crusade. Unwilling to remain silent like his bosses in pursuit of a grubby market share, Kanter has been blunt about the sins of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, whom he describes as a “brutal dictator,” and of the CCP, which, among other things, oppresses Tibet, relies upon slave-labor, and has imprisoned up to 2 million Uyghurs in concentration camps. Kanter argues that Americans should not ignore this. “Don’t forget,” he said this past week of consumer goods produced with coerced labor, “every time you put those shoes on your feet, or you put that T-shirt on your back, there are so many tears and so much oppression and so much blood behind it all.” In particular, he points to “Uyghur forced labor,” which he describes as “modern day slavery” that is “happening right now in China.”

Kanter’s horror at the conduct of totalitarian regimes comes in part from personal experience. In 2016, he criticized the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In response, his father was first removed from his position at a Turkish university and then charged as a member of a terrorist group, while Kanter was banned from the country, had his passport canceled. Some people would have responded to this by shutting up. Kanter has taken the opposite course. “XI JINPING and the Chinese Communist Party,” he tweeted this week. “Someone has to teach you a lesson; I will NEVER apologize for speaking the truth. You can NOT buy me. You can NOT scare me. You can NOT silence me.”

And in several further posts shared to his Instagram and Twitter accounts, Kanter hit back at China’s response and condemned the oppression of Tibetan people and the ethnic group the Uyghurs.

 

Nyima Arya

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