Boston Celtics Star Center Enes Kanter’s criticism of Chinese President Xi Jinping cost his team their ability to broadcast games in the country.
Kanter shared a two-minute long video that bashed the Chinese government for restricting the freedom of Tibetians on Twitter Wednesday, and China responded by pulling the NBA team’s games off their streaming schedule and purging past replays.
“My message to the Chinese government is ‘Free Tibet.’ Tibet belongs to Tibetans. I am here to add my voice and speak out about what is happening in Tibet,” the progressive activist said. “Under the Chinese government’s brutal rule, Tibetan people’s basic rights and freedoms are nonexistent.”
Dear Brutal Dictator XI JINPING and the Chinese Government
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 20, 2021
“They are not allowed to study and learn their language and culture freely,” Kanter went on. “They are not allowed to travel freely, they are not allowed to access information freely, Tibetan people are not even allowed to worship freely.”
He detailed the horrifying conditions that Tibetians have endured for the past 70 years of China’s occupation, including detention, re-education, torture, and even execution.
“I say, shame on the Chinese government. The Chinese dictatorship is erasing Tibetan identity and culture,” the Turkish player announced. “After learning all of this, I cannot stay silent. I stand with my Tibetan brothers and sisters, and I support their cause for freedom.”
“The communist ideology of China has been around for only around 100 years, but Buddhist civilization, ideology, and philosophy have been around for thousands of years,” Kanter continued. “Only the Tibetan people should decide the future of Tibet; … Tibet belongs to Tibetan people.”
He then directed his criticism at China’s president. “Brutal dictator of China, Xi Jinping, I have a message for you and your henchmen. I will say it again, again, and again, loud and clear; I hope you hear me. Free Tibet, free Tibet, free Tibet,” the video concluded.
Later that night, Kanter wore custom sneakers proclaiming “FREE TIBET,” during the Celtics game against the New York Knicks.