China demonstrators protest at Wizards, 76ers games vs. Guangzhou

'South Park' Creators Issue Mock Apology After China Bans Episode 'Band in China'

The NBA initially described the anger over Morey's post as "regrettable", drawing criticism from USA politicians, who accused the league of putting its China business ahead of free speech.

They held up signs that read "Shame on the NBA", "South Park was right" and "Memo to the NBA: Principles over profit!"

Luckin Coffee, a local rival to Starbucks, also suspended all cooperation with the NBA's local events.

It comes in the wake of a tweet by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supporting Hong kong protesters who have taken to the streets since June in protest of a proposed extradition law that would have sent suspects to China to face trial.

"It is not just about Hong Kong - it is about China's totalitarianism against the free world", he said. The former British colony, now controlled by China, has been rocked by months of political unrest. But with billions at stake from things like merchandise sales and media rights, some experts are wondering if anything other than an apology from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will mend this fence, especially with the Chinese indicating that is what they want.

Many people across the USA are also angry that the league has refused to stand up to China and support the protests.

"I don't think I can continue to watch (NBA) games", said 26-year-old Fu Hao, sweating after playing on an outdoor court.

That response has sparked outrage in China.

The People's Daily, mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, slammed a transport app available on Apple's store that it alleged helped protesters identify police in Hong Kong. The Chinese market makes up at least 10% of the league's current revenue and could reach 20% by 2030.

It is something that all companies that have dealings with China are keenly observing right now and it could yet set a new precedent for how worldwide business/trade relations may develop over the next decade. One of those, Dongfeng Nissan, said it would suspend all ties with the league in the country. The 76ers organization has yet to comment.

"We believe that any remarks that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech".

Vivo and CCTV have all suspending ties with the National Basketball Association following the tweet, and the backlash is unlikely to stop there. Basketball is wildly popular in China and those two teams - largely because of LeBron James starring for the Lakers and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's co-founder Joe Tsai now owning the Nets - nearly certainly would have been a huge television draw.

Crews rappeled down glass-and-steel office buildings in Shanghai's glittering financial district to peel off 13-storey promotional images of Lakers superstar LeBron James on Wednesday, while at the arena where the games are to be played workers removed Nets, Lakers, and corporate logos from lamp-posts and walls. The local celebrities had made a decision to pull out of the event earlier this week.

So far, most of the league's worldwide partners in China have stayed silent.

But signs of strain are starting to show up.

The diverse coalition includes major political names such as Ted Cruz, a Republican U.S. Senator from Texas, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic U.S. Representative from NY.

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