“Nobody cares what happens to the Uyghurs” – Deadline

With the 2020 Winter Olympics in Beijing just 18 days away and US diplomats boycotting the games over what a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Beijing recently called China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, and other human rights abuses” weighed on one of the most vocal owners of one of the franchise’s flagship franchises. NBA.

Billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya, minority owner of the Golden State Warriors alongside majority owners Peter Guber and Joe Lacob, has spoken what he called “a very hard and ugly truth” about China’s treatment of its minority Muslim population Uighur in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region. .

“Nobody cares what happens to the Uyghurs. You talk about it because you really care, and I think it’s good that you care, the rest of us don’t care,” Palihapitiya said. “I’m telling you a very hard and ugly truth, okay? Of all the things I care about, yes, it’s below my line.

Warriors PR posted a declaration calling Palihapitiya “a limited investor who has no day-to-day operational duties with the Warriors.” He added that he “does not speak for our franchise and his views certainly do not reflect those of our organization.”

The context of the remark is a conversation between Palihapitiya and his co-hosts, tech entrepreneur Jason Calacanis and former Google employee David Friedberg, about President Biden’s popularity and policies.

After Calacanis praised Biden’s China policy, Palihapitiya said, “I think we have a responsibility to take care of our own backyard first.”

Calacanis replied that the United States is far from perfect, but argued that a comparison with the state of human rights in China does not hold water.

“The what-aboutism you are proposing is so disproportionate to the equivalent of the ongoing Holocaust – we’re talking about a million Uyghurs in concentration camps right now – to talk about what we have here and we have to fix [and] to compare it to there or Saudi Arabia which whips bloggers and throws gay people off the roofs for being gay…those two things are not morally comparable,” he said.

You can watch the exchange around 2:30 p.m. below.

The NBA has had a difficult relationship with China. In 2019, a single tweet from then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong kicked the entire league out of national broadcaster CCTV. It took more than a year before China allowed league matches to be broadcast on state television again. CNBC valued last year that the NBA’s operation in China is worth at least $5 billion, including a $1.5 billion media rights deal with Chinese tech company Tencent.

Boston Celtics center Enis Kanter’s advocacy for Tibet and against the Chinese government and its “brutal dictator” Xi Jinping led to the removal of Tencent’s Celtics games in China last year. A week later, Kanter – who is Muslim – upped the ante, calling out the country and Nike over the treatment of ethnic minority Uyghur workers in factories there. These conditions were detailed in a Washington Post expose.

Nike shoes are, of course, worn by most NBA players every game. Nike also supplies the league’s uniforms and provides its top stars with hugely lucrative shoe deals. Top players like LeBron James, who has a “lifetime contract” with Nike would have worth $1 billion – struggled to respond in any meaningful way and faced backlash for not doing so.

Palihapitiya, now a venture capitalist who was once vice president of “user growth” at Facebook, a Democratic Party donor, a winner on TV World Series of Poker and the world poker tour and former candidate for governor of California, continued:

“I’m not even sure China is a dictatorship whatever you want to call it,” Palihapitiya said after Calacanis called the communist nation a brutal dictatorship.

“That problem may be small data points extrapolated in a way to create a narrative that may not be true,” he continued.

Kanter himself responded this morning by posting a snippet of Palihapitiya’s lyrics and writing: “When genocides happen, it’s people like that who let them.”

Right-wing American politicians also began castigating Palihapitiya.

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