China’s Tencent halts NBA live broadcast over Taiwanese flag

Man seated in front row of Lakers-Heat game had Taiwanese flag on clothes

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Taiwanese flag (front row, fourth from left) stops Tencent's live broadcast of game. (watch.nba.com screenshot)

Taiwanese flag (front row, fourth from left) stops Tencent's live broadcast of game. (watch.nba.com screenshot)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China’s Tencent Sports suddenly halted the live broadcast of a key NBA game Saturday (Nov. 9) after a man seated in the front row of the audience was seen wearing clothes with a Taiwanese flag on them.

The broadcaster declared that elements in the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat did not “correspond to broadcasting standards” without giving a further explanation.

A closer look at the footage revealed that the problem was not a racist slogan or a streaker racing across the hall but the simple presence of Taiwan’s national flag worn by an Asian-looking man sitting in the front row, clearly visible at the center of the picture.

Viewers complained that the summary of the game's highlights available later only showed the left half of the basketball court and that none of the action on the right side was visible, CNA reported.

At the time the broadcast was suspended, an estimated 25 million people were watching the Lakers-Heat game, reports said, leading to many angry reactions online.

The incident follows the controversy surrounding a tweet by NBA team the Houston Rockets' manager Daryl Morey made in support of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. Tencent Sports reportedly still refuses to broadcast any Rockets games.