Taking a bold stand for human rights and bucking prevailing liberal tendencies to tread lightly around the topics, NBA standout Enes Kanter is not holding back when it comes to calling out authoritarian Chinese leaders, taking them to task publicly over their treatment of Tibetans as well as their oppression of the Uyghur population within their own country, as Breitbart reports.
Last week, the Boston Celtics center posted a video on social media in which he declared President Xi Jinping of China a “brutal dictator” and advocated for independence in Tibet, prompting a swift backlash from the officials in Beijing, according to NBC News.
Soon after Kanter’s commentary, Tencent, the digital streaming distributor for NBA games in China, yanked its coverage of the Celtics’ contest against the New York Knicks, with all upcoming Boston games also disappearing from the network’s broadcast calendar.
In the opinion of Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, Kanter was simply “trying to get attention” with remarks the official deemed “not worth refuting,” adding that his country would “never accept those attacks to discredit Tibet’s development and progress,” NBC News added.
Undeterred by the possibility of negative professional and public relations consequences from left-leaning figures in the media and sports worlds, on Friday, Kanter – himself a native of Turkey – returned to social media to weigh in on another of China’s abuses, namely, its treatment of its Muslim Uyghur minority.
“Right now, as I speak this message, torture, rape, forced abortions, sterilizations, family separations, arbitrary detentions, concentration camps, political reeducation, forced labor. This is all happening right now to more than 1.8 million Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region in northwestern China,” Kanter asserted.
The outspoken hoops star added, “The Chinese government has been taking sweeping measures to crackdown on the Uyghyur people simply because they embrace their own religion, their own culture, language, history and identity. The Uyghur region has become an open-air prison and surveillance state where freedoms are non-existent for the Uygthur people.” WATCH:
Heartless Dictator of China,
XI JINPING and the Communist Party of China.
I am calling you out in front of the whole world.
Close down the SLAVE labor camps and free the UYGHUR people!
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 22, 2021
Thus far, Kanter’s statements have received the support of Celtics management, with the team’s president of basketball operations Brad Stevens saying last week, “we’re always going to support any of our players and their right to freedom of speech and expression.” Time will tell, however, whether mounting financial and political fallout for the organization in China eventually results in an adjustment to that approach.