In August 2015, we wrote here about several major U.S. universities that have established lucrative branches in less than free countries – such as the United Arab Emirates and other lands awash in petrodollars – and that, in order to be able to operate in those countries, have felt compelled, by their sheer pecuniary interests, to make major compromises when it comes to living up to the idea of a free university.
As we noted,
a number of these institutions have branches in China.
And that’s not all: there are universities in the U.S. that contain so-called “Confucius Institutes,” centers for the study of China that are essentially sources of propaganda for Communist China.
These cozy relationships between major
American universities and the People’s Republic of China have many
ramifications for the education of students at those universities.
Colleges that play host to “Confucius Institutes” are forbidden
by contract from recognizing Taiwan as an independent nation. They
are under pressure not to arrange lectures or debates involving China
scholars who don’t toe the Beijing line. The agreements with China
also prohibit those American universities from sponsoring honest
discussions of Tibet or the Tienanmen Square massacre. China scholars
at U.S. institutions that have these sorts of links to the PRC dare
not criticize China in the classroom or in their writings because
they may find their Chinese visas revoked, which, of course, would
make it impossible for them to pursue their scholarship. As we noted
in 2015, one Chinese dissident, Chen Guangcheng, who had been
tortured in China and who went on to have a fellowship at NYU had
suddenly, in 2013, found that fellowship cancelled because the
honchos at NYU were afraid of offending the Chinese leaders who had
ordered his torture.
On October 19, Jon Levine wrote in the New York Post about the NYU branch in Shanghai, where the fall term had begun but where “one subject that won’t be on the syllabus is pro-democracy protests sweeping Hong Kong.” Levine explained that “NYU faculty in China and New York say the issue is a third rail” and quoted an NYU-Shanghai faculty member as saying that “Everyone is under a bit of a cloud of fear…..We don’t walk around trembling like rodents, but there is a general idea that there are certain topics you don’t discuss….We all learn over time how to self-censor.” Levine noted that young people enrolled at this campus, who receive NYU degrees at the end of their period of study, are “required to take classes like ‘Mao Zedong Thought,’ ‘Introduction to the Communist Party of China’ and courses in political education routinely mandated at other Chinese universities.” This is disgusting, but none of it should be surprising to anyone who is aware that NYU, founded in 1831 and once a revered center of liberal learning and a source of American pride, has long since gotten into the habit of accepting cash from the biggest bidder, however odious.
Henry Fonda was a movie star, and a highly gifted one. His daughter Jane, a person of considerably lesser gifts (although in her youth, starring in trash such as Barbarella, she certainly could fill out a tight outfit), also became a movie star. It didn’t hurt that her daddy was already in the same business. We bring up the topic of nepotism not to be petty or snippy but to underscore that this is a woman who didn’t necessarily have to work hard and long to get to the top. She was born a Hollywood princess, and when she ascended quite swiftly and smoothly to the role of Hollywood queen, it doubtless felt quite natural to her. And like many persons who are born into royalty, and who cannot remember a time when they were not treated with near-reverence by a sizable number of the hoi polloi, she plainly had, from an early age, the vague notion that she knew more than she actually knew, and, moreover, that she certainly must know a good deal more than those slavering mobs who were so eager to glimpse her and snap pictures of her in the street, and that she consequently had not just a right but an obligation, a noblesse oblige-type obligation, to share her wisdom with the lesser beings, the common folk, who surrounded her.
Hence, as a young woman, who, of course, enjoyed all the wealth and privilege that America had to offer, she went off to Vietnam, where her country was at war, and socialized with the enemy, delivered broadcasts on their behalf, and even posed for pictures with them, including a now-iconic photograph of herself perched on an anti-aircraft gun the purpose of which was to shoot down planes being piloted by her own countrymen, although those countrymen, unlike her, were likely to be young men whose parents nobody had ever heard of and who perhaps even came from towns that nobody could find on a map. Jane’s chief objective on that day was to put a human face on Communism. She plainly felt that Communism was a good thing, and that America, which had given her everything, was worth nothing. She later apologized for the photo on the anti-aircraft gun, but then again she pretty much was forced to do so by the outrage of the masses, and if she ever delivered a broader mea culpa for her role in whitewashing a movement that, after the U.S. withdrawal from Indochina, ended up committing genocide in Cambodia, we’re unaware of it.
Many remarkable developments have occurred in the decades since Jane’s Vietnam escapade. For one thing, she was widely forgiven for her obscene collaboration with the enemy. Although to this day, indeed, she is known in some circles as Hanoi Jane, she went on to have a successful movie career and to win not one but two Academy Awards for Best Actress. Some might consider those awards undeserved. When she won for playing a hooker in Klute in 1971, she beat out Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson; when she won for Coming Home in 1978, she beat out Geraldine Page and Ingrid Bergman. All those other actresses are brilliant. Is Jane? Some of us would say no. Some would say she had nowhere near the range of those other screen and stage artists. Both of the parts she won Oscars for, moreover, are one-dimensional, forgettable. Who watches either of those movies nowadays? Who discusses them? Pretty much nobody. Then, one might ask, why did she win? Why was she nominated, over the years, for no fewer than seven Oscars? Almost no other actor has ever been nominated for so many Oscars. Hence the thought crosses one mind: has Jane, in fact, been rewarded for having been, to put it bluntly, a traitor? Hollywood is left-wing, but is it that left-wing?
Another remarkable development. Despite her fondness for the Communist enemy during the Vietnam War, she later proved to be a first-rate capitalist. Whether or not you think she’s an acting genius, she sure is a genius at business. In addition to her film career, she made millions off of workout videos. And she managed to snag, as one of her husbands, no less a tycoon than Ted Turner, who founded CNN and, at one point, owned more land in the U.S. than anyone else except the federal government. It was, in at least one sense, a marriage made in heaven, since Ted, too, despite his massive fortune, was a fan of Communism – and, moreover, as we’ve recounted at length on this website, a chum of Fidel Castro and other totalitarians.
One last remarkable thing about Jane. You might think that after her Hanoi Jane humiliation, she’d have spent the rest of her life acting – i.e. reading aloud lines written by others – and keeping her mouth shut about world events. Au contraire. She may have apologized frequently for her Vietnam debacle, but it’s hard to believe she ever really meant it. Because her basic attitudes seem not to have changed much, and she just keeps behaving as if the world needs to know what she thinks – as if, indeed, the fate of the world depends on letting everyone know what she thinks. She seems, you might even say, to be hard-wired to speak out, and, invariably, to parrot passionately, as if she had come up with the ideas herself, whatever the PC clichés of the day might be. Now 81, she was arrested twice alone in October during climate-change protests in Washington, D.C. She actually described herself at the time as a “climate scientist.” This is a new one on us: as far as we know, the nearest she’s come to being a scientist is starring in the 1979 nuke power plant drama The China Syndrome. As ever, however, the mockery of her latest self-description, which is well-deserved, has been drowned out by the hosannas: a recent Los Angeles Times article about Fonda’s lifetime of arrests, of which there have been many, was a veritable love letter; and when she appeared in 2016 on the Jimmy Fallon Show her whole history of lawbreaking was treated as nothing less than adorable, an occasion for amusement of the sort that is trotted out on such programs. But then again, how else do you expect Hollywood media to treat Hollywood royalty?
On Tuesday we wrote here about a
Venezuelan, Christian K. Caruzo, whose account of his own life in the
hell that is Venezuela under chavismo appeared recently at the
Breitbart website. Today we’re here to draw attention to a piece
in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz in which reporter David
Stavrou recounts the experiences of a woman named Sayragful Sauytbay
in a Chinese reeducation camp. Sauytbay, an Uyghur Muslim teacher who
was granted asylum in Sweden, where she now lives, recalled a place
where the inmates spent their days and nights in shackles, using a
plastic bucket for a toilet, were forced to confess fake sins and
memorize “propaganda songs,” were subjected to electric shocks
and other forms of torture, were the victims of gang rapes, and were
given pills and injections as part of the kind of medical experiments
that the infamous Dr. Mengele carried out in the death camps.
Knowing that the Chinese authorities
were cracking down on Uyghur Muslims, Sauytbay’s husband and kids
managed to flee China for their native Kazakhstan. But she didn’t.
In 2016, as part of a broad round-up, some government thugs “came
to my house at night, put a black sack on my head and brought me to a
place that looked like a jail. I was interrogated by police officers,
who wanted to know where my husband and children were, and why they
had gone to Kazakhstan. At the end of the interrogation I was ordered
to tell my husband to come home, and I was forbidden to talk about
the interrogation.” She disobeyed the order, breaking off contact
with her husband and kids. The result were further late-night raids
and brutal interrogations. Finally, in November 2017, she was
shuttled off to the reeducation camp, where she was given the job of
teaching the Chinese language to Uyghur and Kazakh speakers. A big
part of the curriculum consisted of propaganda songs and slogans,
including “I love China” and “I love Xi Jinping.” Well, as
John Lennon put it, all you need is love. Sometimes, let’s face it,
the distance between Lennon and Lenin isn’t all that far.
Sauytbay recalled one incident from
this adventure in love:
One day, the police told us they were going to check to see whether our reeducation was succeeding, whether we were developing properly. They took 200 inmates outside, men and women, and told one of the women to confess her sins. She stood before us and declared that she had been a bad person, but now that she had learned Chinese she had become a better person. When she was done speaking, the policemen ordered her to disrobe and simply raped her one after the other, in front of everyone. While they were raping her they checked to see how we were reacting. People who turned their head or closed their eyes, and those who looked angry or shocked, were taken away and we never saw them again. It was awful. I will never forget the feeling of helplessness, of not being able to help her. After that happened, it was hard for me to sleep at night.
Take that, Charles Barkley. Look at yourself in the mirror, LeBron James.
Over the last few years we’ve covered the steady descent of
socialist Venezuela into the maelstrom. What more is there to say?
Well, there used to be an old anthology TV series set in New York
City. It was called Naked City, and every episode ended with a
voice intoning: “there are eight million stories in the naked city.
This has been one of them.”
Well, there are 28 million stories in
Venezuela. One of them is that of a fellow named Christian K. Caruzo,
his own experiences recently at the Breitbart website under the
headline “My Socialist Hell: 20 Years of Decay in Venezuela.”
“Hell”? “Decay”? Is he exaggerating? In his opening sentences
he also uses the word “tragedy.” And he sums up the country’s
current conditions in the bleakest of terms: “toilet paper
shortages, desperate people scavenging through garbage to find food
for their families, bread lines, a systemic failure of our public
utilities, dogs flayed in broad daylight for meat, corruption, lack
of proper medicine and health access, weighing stacks of cash, and so
much more.” Its all true, he says, and it’s all “a product of
20 years of socialism.”
Eleven years old when Hugo Chávez took power, Caruzo has spent
his adult life under chavismo. Chávez, he writes, turned
Venezuela into a country where “you’re no longer a citizen —
you’re merely a survivor.” A country where he’s “a lesser
version of what I could’ve been.” A country where you stand in
line for bread and where you barter for the meds you need.
“Socialism,” he writes, “has slowly eroded the functional
existence of every aspect of our lives, from our freedom of speech to
our economic liberties, our access to healthcare and personal
documents to our water supply.” Yes, the same socialism that,
thanks to disinformation by media and faculty ideologues, has
millions of young American fans.
Caruzo recalls how, around the year 2007, Chávez’s title
morphed from “President” to “Commander-President”; and how,
after the caudillo’s death, he officially came to be known as
“Supreme and Eternal Commander of the Bolivarian Revolution.”
Today, Chávez is a semi-divine figure. Reruns of his old TV show are
still broadcast and are treated as “gospel.”
Meanwhile, Chávez’s successor Nicolas Maduro has introduced
something called the “Fatherland Card” program, which was created
with the help of Communist Chinese experts and based on China’s own
“Social Credit System.” The program employs a massive database
containing detailed personal data about Venezuela’s citizens, and
the idea is that unless your personal record is perfect by chavista
standards you’ll be denied access to job bonuses, welfare benefits,
medicines, and the like.
In Venezuela, even as you’re forced to endure shortages of almost everything, you’re being fed massive doses of propaganda telling you that the system that’s starving you is, in fact, saving you, and that what they’re saving you from is American-style capitalism – which, of course, is exactly what is needed to turn your grinding deprivation into prosperity and your oppression into liberty. It’s pure Orwell, of course – war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.
Our last few postings here at Useful Stooges may have led some readers to think we’re under the impression that only athletes, teams, sports leagues, and sports-related firms have been doing a yeoman’s job of defending the Communist Chinese regime. Let us reassure our readers that we labor under no such illusion. In fact it is no secret that some of the largest U.S. companies manufacture many of their products in Chinese sweatshops and/or make handsome profits on the Chinese market, and thus feel a strong compulsion to maintain friendly relations with the Chinese government – and consequently are not about to risk their income by standing up for the freedom fighters of Hong Kong.
In connection with the bowing and
scraping of sports figures to the Beijing regime, we’ve already
mentioned Nike, the sneaker company, which pays millions in
endorsement deals to some of the biggest names in the hoops game. In
September, as Fox Business reported,
Nike’s CEO, Mark Parker, made a pretty straightforward declaration:
“Nike is a brand of China, for China.” As Fox noted, Nike’s
revenue in China during the third quarter of this year was no less
than $1.7 billion. No wonder, noted Fox Business, that “Nike has
gone silent on the controversy surrounding the NBA and China.” In
fact it did more than go silent: after Daryl Morey, GM of the Houston
Rockets, sent out a tweet supporting the pro-democracy movement in
Hong Kong, Nike “pulled its Houston Rockets merchandise from five
stores in Beijing and Shanghai.” Mustn’t offend the sensitive
feelings of Chairman Xi and his cohorts.
Then there’s Apple. In an October 17
Wired noted Apple CEO Tim Cook’s efforts to position his
firm as “the Patron Saint of Privacy, the company willing to
protect user data while others profit from it.” Yet whereas “Apple
refused to help the FBI break into an iPhone that belonged to one of
the alleged perpetrators of the 2015 San Bernardino terrorist
attack,” it has been considerably more cooperative with Beijing,
eliminating an app that was used by pro-democracy activists in Hong
Kong and that came under criticism by People’s Daily, the
official Chinese Communist Party newspaper. As we’ve previously
noted, Apple obligingly made it impossible for Apple users in Hong
Kong and Macao to access a Taiwan flag emoji. Also, in 2018, bigwigs
at Apple ordered TV program developers in its employ “to avoid
portraying China in a poor light.”
Of course Apple is not alone in the
last-named regard. China has become a lucrative market for American
films. It finances a good many of them. It owns U.S. theater chains.
Hollywood studios and producers are therefore exceedingly careful not
only to scrub scripts clean of anything that might be offensive to
the Chinese government, but to include pro-China propaganda. A recent
article at the Heritage Foundation website quoted an observation by
Stephen Colbert that in the disaster movie 2012, “humanity
is saved because the Chinese government had the foresight to build
life-saving arcs,” and that in Gravity, “Sandra Bullock
survives by getting herself to the Chinese Space Station.” As
Heritage’s Tim Doescher put it – chillingly – “Hollywood is
relying more and more on the Chinese markets to make profits on
movies. That means our films are being written with China in mind.”
As a result, noted Heritage’s Mike Gonzalez, “we get shown a very
benign view of China, in which China is a normal country, no
different from Paris, or Britain, or Germany.” We also get a view
of the world that omits what Gonzalez called “the three Ts”:
“Tiananmen, Tibet, and Taiwan.” Also omitted is Richard Gere –
who was a top Hollywood star until his outspoken support for Tibet
got in the way. In short, when it comes to China, there’s a lot of
useful stoogery going around – and as China’s financial,
military, and cultural power increases, and as it buys up more and
more shares of more and more Western firms, we can fully expect that
stoogery to increase massively.
The ongoing spectacle of rich American athletes and powerful sports organizations spitting on the democratic capitalist system that made possible their free and privileged lives – all the while giving succor to the prison wardens who govern Communist China – has been nothing less than chilling to observe. One can hardly stop wondering: are these people as cold-heartedly craven as they sound, gladly accepting the big payouts they get from Beijing because a whole lot of Chinese people happen to love American basketball while caring nothing at all for the armies of Chinese workers of China the profits from whose underpaid labor enables Xi & co. to buy their loyalty? Or are these U.S. sports stars just plain ignorant, possessed of some vague notion that the Chinese system is pretty much the same as America’s, or that the differences between them are just cosmetic distinctions that only a racist would focus upon?
In the last couple of weeks, we’ve written about hoop heroes like Charles Barkley who’ve rushed to stand by China. Now it’s time to turn to LeBron James, who has played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and L.A. Lakers, and is considered by many observers to be the greatest basketball player ever. In response to one of the very few good guys in this story – namely, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who’d dared to express his solidarity with the freedom fighters of Hong Kong – James sneered that Morey “wasn’t educated” on the topic and should have kept silent. By way of explaining his remark, James told reporters that comments like Morey’s could harm some people “not only financially but physically, emotionally and spiritually.” A curious angle indeed, given that all Morey had done was to stand shoulder to shoulder with people who, by standing up for their liberty against a brutal totalitarian system, were risking their very lives. What seemed to concern James was that bringing up the harsh monstrous reality of the Chinese system could hurt the feelings of his NBA confreres while they’re on their way to the bank to cash their checks from China. It’s hardly irrelevant here that LeBron himself has an exceedingly profitable lifetime endorsement deal with Nike, many of whose sneakers are manufactured in Chinese sweatshops by slave laborers, some of them children.
James even went on to complain, in one tweet, that Morey’s support for Hong Kong had caused the Lakers to have a “difficult week” during a recent China tour. Many of his Twitter followers pointed out that the demonstrators in Hong Kong and the Uighurs, a Muslim group over a million of whose members are at present religious prisoners in China, have also been having a “difficult week.” Indeed, ever since China went Communist seventy years ago this month, untold hundreds of millions of its people have led highly difficult lives, and tens of millions have been subjected, at the orders of Mao and his successors, to brutal and violent deaths for their deviations from official ideologies. James also had some choice words for those who cheer on the Hong Kong inhabitants’ fight for freedom of speech, and who have defended Morey by pointing to his freedom of speech: “Yes,” wrote James, “we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.” Let’s just close with that one — and try to imagine the mental operations that can lead an American to say such a thing in all seriousness.
Yet more celebrities have lined up to defend
business deals with the world’s largest totalitarian state. One of
them is Charles Barkley. On October 10, TMZ reported that in the view
of Barkley – the former power forward for the 76ers, Suns, and
Rockets, and currently a sports commentator – anyone who criticizes
the NBA for its zero-tolerance policy toward criticism of China,
which includes ejecting from games those who express support at an
for the people in Hong Kong who are protesting Beijing’s attempt to
crush their freedom, is an “idiot,” a “jackass,” a “fool.”
Try to follow this logic, which Barkley served up on the Dan
Patrick Show: “you guys have been killing Colin Kaepernick for
the last X amount of years,” but now “you want to control what
happens in a foreign country?”
Kaepernick, of course, is the mediocre football player who worships the memory of Che and Castro and who started the whole business of “taking a knee” during the National Anthem as a way of protesting the unjust killing of black persons by white cops. Never mind that when you take into account the size of the different population groups, white cops don’t kill any more blacks than they do whites. There is evidence, indeed, that white cops are more careful about pulling a gun on a black person than on a white for fear they’ll end up being branding racists all over the news media. Besides, what Kaepernick was disrespecting was the Star-Spangled Banner and hence, by extension, the U.S. – a free country in which he has been able to become a rich man on the basis of a set of modest athletic skills. As for Barkley’s claim that “you guys” – presumably the media? – had been “killing” Kaepernick for taking a knee, au contaire: whereas Kaepernick’s less-than-spectacular talent on the gridiron had kept him pretty obscure, once he began taking a knee he won praise from all the usual suspects, collecting awards from GQ, Sports Illustrated, the ACLU, the Puffin/Nation Institute, Amnesty International, and Harvard. Yes, a lot of disgruntled fans, understandably turned off by his ingratitude and lack of patriotism, stopped watching NFL games. That’s their right.
But how to compare Kaepernick’s self-aggrandizing demonstrations against America, for which he risked no official punishment whatsoever, with the Hong Kong protesters, who are literally risking their lives by standing up for freedom? Bradley’s excuse for NBA honchos who side with the tyrants of China against the people in Hong Kong whose very freedom is under threat was simple: “They have billions of dollars at stake,” he said. “It’s a business decision. I understand the NBA. The players and the owners both got billions of dollars at stake.” Ah yes, the famous old distinction that keeps cropping up in The Godfather: “It’s not personal, it’s business.” This is indeed how the Mafia operates, and it’s how the American creeps who get rich off of Chinese slave labor defend the indefensible.
There is no more powerful beneficiary
of the useful stoogery of various Americans than the increasingly
powerful Xi regime in Communist China. As we’ve seen in recent
days, while hundreds of thousands of brave people in Hong Kong are
risking their lives in protests against Beijing’s growing effort to
crush that city’s freedoms, shameless creeps in the NBA and at
ESPN, aware that China pays big bucks to broadcast American
basketball games, have variously condemned the Hong Kong protests,
chosen to stay silent about them, or played moral-equivalency games,
equating America’s failings with those of a totalitarian
dictatorship that imprisons millions of its political enemies and
On October 11, Tucker Carlson devoted
much of his hour-long Fox News evening program to the NBA apologists
for China. The focus was largely on Steve Kerr, coach of the Golden
State Warriors, who is apparently well known for the predictable PC
opinions that he shares on Twitter and elsewhere. Kerr, noted
Carlson, routinely acts as if his reflexive echoing of received elite
opinions makes him some kind of fearless hero of the oppressed. But
when asked at a recent presser what he thinks about China, which
actually does oppress on the largest scale ever known to man,
and which Carlson quite properly called “the largest police state
in the history of the human race,” Kerr hedged. When first asked
about China, Kerr dodged it; the second time around, however, he
opted for a bit of moral equivalence, suggesting that America’s
“record of human rights offenses” was comparable to China’s.
Only a fool or a shameless liar could say such a thing. Guesting on
the same episode of Carlson’s show, John Daniel Davidson of the
Federalist pointed out that Kerr’s brother is a China scholar –
so it’s not as if the coach is clueless about the true nature of
the Beijing regime.
As Carlson put it, the NBA is “beholden
to China.” The league has actually banned its own players from
speaking about China while on tour in that country. Carlson also
noted another dog that hasn’t barked: Mark Cuban, the billionaire
who owns the Dallas Mavericks and who is famously outspoken, has
stayed mum on the question of China.
on a guest, radio host Jason Whitlock, who made a fascinating
argument: the ultimate problem, he said, doesn’t lie with the NBA;
it lies with Nike, the sneakers company whose products are cheaply
manufactured in Chinese sweatshops by veritable slaves, worn and
advertised by NBA stars who have lucrative promotional contracts with
the shoe manufacturer, and sold at handsome prices around the world,
with China, of course, being one of its largest markets, if not the
largest. “Basketball exists to sell shoes,” charged Whitlock,
who maintained further that “Nike is control of basketball.”
Hence the refusal of everybody connected to Nike to breathe a
negative word about totalitarian China.
And on it goes. In recent posts we’ve
contrasted the courage of Hong Kong protesters – who are putting
their lives on the line to risk the growing encroachments on their
freedoms by the government in Beijing – with the readiness of
American individuals and firms that do business with China to sell
out the idea of liberty for a buck.
Since American sports are so big in the
PRC, many of these latest stories of cravenness and cowardice have
had to do with athletics. We’ve seen that the NBA and ESPN have
both been lightning-quick to sacrifice any pretense of principle in
order to avoid offending Xi’s tyrannical regime. Well, here’s
more. On October 10, Reason magazine’s Eric Boehm reported
that two different sports arenas in the U.S. had ejected fans
protesting the Communist Chinese attempt to crush liberty in Hong
Kong. On October 8, it happened at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center,
where Sam Wachs and his wife, who had bought tickets to a preseason
game between the Philadelphia 76ers and a visiting Chinese team, the
Guangzhou Loong Lions, displayed small signs reading “Free Hong
Kong.” Security guards were quick to give the Wachses the heave-ho.
The next night, the same Chinese team
were in Washington, D.C., for another game, in this case against the
Washington Wizards. This time there were several protesters. They
wore t-shirts bearing slogans in support of the Hong Kong protesters
and unfurled a “Free Hong Kong” banner. When the banner was
confiscated, they waved a homemade sign reading “Google
Uighurs,” a reference to the current internment by the Communist
Chinese government of more than a million adherence of that Muslim
minority. That effort, too, was quashed.
As Boehm pointed
out, the NBA’s aggressive treatment of what was frankly a small
number of protesters at a couple of U.S. basketball game has only
served to draw attention to China’s perfidy and to the NBA’s
eagerness to do China’s bidding. On October 10, the New York
Post ran an op-ed
by one of the Washington protesters, Jon Schweppe, who explained that
he and some friends had decided to stage a protest at the Washington
game after reading about what happened to the Wachese in
Philadelphia. The sight of NBA thugs “groveling to a totalitarian
regime and censoring…fans” in Philadelphia, of all places, “home
of the Constitutional Convention and the Liberty Bell,” had gotten
his dander up. Would the NBA, he wondered, dare to treat supporters
of freedom the same way in the nation’s capital?
The answer came quickly. When he and
his pals unfurled their banner, they were told by NBA reps: “We
respect your freedom of speech, but…we don’t have any stance on
[Hong Kong]. So we’re just asking not to have any signage related
to that in here tonight.” The little sign about the million-plus
imprisoned Uighurs didn’t please the NBA bosses either. “My
friend,” writes Schweppe, “pleaded that we were simply seeking to
educate some of the NBA officials, coaches and players, many of whom
had expressed ignorance about the issue. It was in vain: The
supervisor still confiscated the sign and told us that if we
continued to disrupt the game, we would be ejected.” Instead,
Schweppe and his friends just chose to leave. Good for them for
standing up for freedom. Shame on the NBA for putting its profits
The bowing and scraping to China
doesn’t stop. Last week we wrote about how Apple has removed the
Taiwanese flag emoji from IPhones sold in Hong Kong. We mentioned
that Google and Microsoft, as everybody knows by now, happily jigger
their products in accordance with Chinese censorship. Then there’s
Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, who, when he
dared to express solidarity on Twitter with the freedom protesters in
Hong Kong, saw his whole world came crashing down on him. His team
owner, the NBA, the Chinese Basketball Association, a Chinese
broadcaster with which the NBA has a lucrative deal, and a bunch of
Chinese companies that manufacture NBA-branded clothing – all of
them, shamefully, took Morey to task for giving freedom a thumbs-up.
Next thing you knew it was ESPN’s
turn. On October 9, the show SportsCenter, which is aired on
that network, showed a map of Communist China that included within
its borders the island of Taiwan, part of the Philippines, and the
Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The map also included the
notorious “nine-dash line,” whereby Communist Chinese maps
indicate its utterly unfounded claims to the South China Sea. When
called on its use of this map, ESPN refused comment, as did the
Disney Organization, its principal owner.
Let’s look at this disgraceful
episode piece by piece. Of course, Communist China officially claims
Taiwan as part of its territory, and has never renounced its supposed
right to take the island by force, although Taiwan is in fact an
independent – and a free – country, and no map other than one
produced in Communist China would include it as part of Communist
As for the South China Sea, Communist
China has been more and more aggressive about it in recent years,
treating much of it as its own property even though if you look at a
map – a real map, not a Chinese map – you’ll see that
the sea stretches far south of China, and is bordered on the east by
the Philippines, on the west by Vietnam, and on the south by
Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, and Indonesia. In order to bolster its
territorial claim to most of this body of water – which is
comparable to the U.S. claiming the entire Gulf of Mexico and
Caribbean Sea – China has actually created artificial islands in
the Spratly Islands, an archipelago in the South China Sea that
contains settlements and military establishments owned by Taiwan, the
Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei.
And what about
those bits of the Philippines and India? What exactly is on the minds
of the bullies of Beijing? No wonder the countries of east Asia are
trembling at China’s increasing pushiness. That ESPN map was no
mistake, any more than the maps of the Middle East put out by Muslim
countries that just happen to omit Israel. Indeed, looking at that
bogus China map, it is hard not to be reminded of the way in which
the Third Reich, after it had attained a certain level of power,
began to grab one chunk of neighboring territory after another,
painting more and more of Europe a bright red, with a big swastika
right smack in the middle. Make no mistake about it: Chairman Xi and
his crew plainly want to paint their neighborhood red too. And when
it happens, don’t expect the cowards at ESPN to object.