Houston, We Have a Problem – China


The NBA’s apology for the Houston Rockets general manager’s support of Hong Kong’s protesters is part of a broader trend of U.S. corporate submission to China, James Palmer writes for Foreign Policy. “China’s leverage in the United States has grown even as the country itself has slipped ever further into despotism,” he argues.

China, like any successful totalitarian nation, knows that the key to assuring silence and compliance rests in oversized disciplinary action against even the slightest of uprisings. Nothing gets everyone in line like an occasional annihilation, adds sports columnist Dan Wetzel:

It certainly appears to be working with the National Basketball Association, which is apologizing and kowtowing to the Chinese government right now after the communist regime took great umbrage with an otherwise tame tweet (above) from Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey.

National Endowment for Democracy

China is an attractive — and necessary — lure for nearly all global institutions, with an economy that while slowing, continues to grow at a pace that is the envy of many countries. Any threat to an ability to do business in China would have dire financial consequences for many multinational corporations, the New York Times reports:

As a result, many companies have apologized or made concessions after angering China. In many cases, the companies found themselves scrambling to respond to comments or Twitter posts made by executives or other employees that generate unwanted attention on social networks.

“Obviously corporations and others perceive that their business interests are at risk, so they are apologizing,” said Shanthi Kalathil, the senior director of the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy. “But where I would perceive the risks is at the level of reputation. These are well-respected global brands and there is reputational cost to simply going along with the party line.”

Indeed. High time someone got asked about @NBA training camp in Human Rights Watch expert Sophie Richardson tweeted.


The U.S. Commerce Department announced Monday that 28 Chinese organizations have been added to a U.S. blacklist after being implicated in China’s targeting of the Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, the New York Times reports (HT: Cipher Brief).  The decision prevents the organizations from buying American products.  The list of companies includes those that specialize in artificial intelligence, voice recognition and data, and provincial and local security bureaus.  These organizations have been implicated “in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-technology surveillance,” the Commerce Department’s filing read.

This Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounder looks at China’s crackdown on Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang.

At all future historical commemorations in central and Eastern Europe, I want to see Chinese dissidents, Tibetan émigrés, Hong Kong protesters, and Taiwanese dignitaries in places of honor, speaking about how their present-day struggles echo those of their hosts in years past. Otherwise, our celebrations are a cynical, self-indulgent sham. We know. The question is what we do with that knowledge. History is watching us, Edward Lucas writes for the Center for European Policy Analysis (HT:FDD).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email