Bipartisan Group Of Lawmakers Urge NBA Players To Drop Chinese Endorsement Deals


A bipartisan commission of U.S. congressmen is urging NBA players to end their endorsement deals with Chinese companies that source cotton from China’s Xinjiang region, where the government is rounding up a Muslim-minority population and placing them in forced labor and concentration camps.

The New York Post reported that the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, which it described as “a bipartisan and bicameral panel,” wrote a letter to the National Basketball Players Association, urging professional players to end their endorsement deals with Chinese sportswear firms ANTA, Li-Ning, and Peak.“We believe that commercial relationships with companies that source cotton in Xinjiang create reputational risks for NBA players and the NBA itself,” the bipartisan group wrote in their letter. “The NBA and NBA players should not even implicitly be endorsing such horrific human rights abuses.”

“The U.S. State Department has determined that the Chinese government is committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, including the mass internment of over a million primarily Muslim ethnic minorities and the systematic use of forced labor to make goods for global export,” the group added.

The letter was written by commission chairman Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and co-chair Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), who explained that many of the endorsement deals signed by more than a dozen NBA players occurred in 2018, before China’s Uyghur abuse was made mainstream news.

The NBA repeatedly sides with China on the communist country’s human rights abuses. In 2019, the NBA caved when China canceled games because Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted “Stand with Hong Kong” as protesters demanded democracy free from Chinese oppression. The NBA apologized for Morey’s remarks and removed fans who brought a “Free Hong Kong” sign to games.

As The Daily Wire has previously reported, leaked documents from the Chinese Communist Party show just how far the oppression of Muslim minorities goes. Leaks reviewed by BBC Panorama show that the re-education camps are intended to be run as prisons and not as educational facilities, as the CCP routinely claims. One nine-page memo included in the collection of documents, sent in 2017 by then deputy secretary of Xinjiang’s Communist Party, Zhu Hailun, explains how the prisons should be run:

  • “Never allow escapes”
  • “Increase discipline and punishment of behavioural violations”
  • “Promote repentance and confession”
  • “Make remedial Mandarin studies the top priority”
  • “Encourage students to truly transform”
  • “[Ensure] full video surveillance coverage of dormitories and classrooms free of blind spots”

The documents further explained how each “student” is to have their every move controlled:

The students should have a fixed bed position, fixed queue position, fixed classroom seat, and fixed station during skills work, and it is strictly forbidden for this to be changed.

Implement behavioural norms and discipline requirements for getting up, roll call, washing, going to the toilet, organising and housekeeping, eating, studying, sleeping, closing the door and so forth.

Those documents also showed the terrifying “Minority Report”-style surveillance system China uses to incarcerate people based on the prediction that they will one day commit a crime. In one of the leaked documents, this system is shown to have flagged 1.8 million people as potential future criminals because they had the Zapya app on their phone. Chinese authorities then investigated 40,557 people who had the app installed and that “if it is not possible to eliminate suspicion” then send them for “concentrated training,” the documents said.

Another stash of leaked documents was reviewed by The New York Times including internal documents showing how authorities in Xinjiang were to respond to college students returning home to discover their families had been sent to the labor camps.

Authorities were to respond: “They’re in a training school set up by the government,” and if the student pressed for more information, the authorities were to say their families were no criminals but could not leave the “schools.” Further, students would be threatened that their families may be held longer depending on the student’s actions.

Sayragul Sauytbay, who said she had been released from one of the concentration camps, talked about the rampant abuse and rape within the facilities.

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