TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwanese-Canadian owner of the Brooklyn Nets, Joseph Tsai (蔡崇信), on Monday (Oct. 7) posted an open letter on Facebook criticizing Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey for a tweet expressing support for Hong Kong, which Tsai erroneously described as a "separatist movement."
On Sunday, Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey published a tweet that showed support for the public protests in Hong Kong. Morey’s original tweet was an image that read “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”
Morey quickly deleted the tweet after sharing it, but a cycle of internet outrage among Chinese netizens had already begun. By Sunday evening, the outrage in China had already reached the heads of major businesses and organizations, which threatened to boycott the Rockets and even the entire NBA.
On Monday morning, Tsai weighed in by uploading a lengthy post on Facebook. In the post, Tsai described the NBA as a "fan-first league" and claimed that hundreds of millions of fans were "furious" over Morey's tweet in support of the protests in Hong Kong.
Given that social media is tightly controlled and carefully orchestrated by the totalitarian regime in Beijing, it is impossible to gauge what Chinese NBA fans truly think of the matter.
Tsai then referred to himself as "a Chinese" rather than Taiwanese, who needs to "speak up." He conceded that freedom is "an inherent American value," but argued that some topics are "third-rail issues" in certain countries.
He then erroneously described the protests in Hong Kong as "a separatist movement" and characterized them as a taboo topic of discussion for members of the NBA. In fact, none of the five key demands of Hong Kong protesters mention declaring independence from China.
Instead, the five key demands are made within the existing "one country, two systems" framework and relate to the rights supposedly endowed by the Hong Kong Basic Law. For example, demand number five, "dual universal suffrage," was promised in Article 45 of the Basic Law, which promises the democratic selection of the chief executive and members of the Legislative Council.
Tsai then gave a limited version of Hong Kong's history, saying that British colonialism and Japanese occupation loaded Chinese with "heavy baggage" when it comes to any perceived foreign threat to "carve up Chinese territories." Again, the Hong Kong protesters are not calling for independence from China but rather the rights they were guaranteed by China under the Hong Kong Basic Law.
The Taiwanese-Canadian tycoon then closed by fixating on the importance of maintaining a good relationship with Chinese fans while ignoring the concerns of Hong Kong or American fans horrified at the censorship imposed on such a large sports organization by a foreign adversary. Tsai then lamented that the "hurt" inflicted by a post on a social media platform blocked in China "will take a long time to repair."