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NBA star supports Taiwan with Twitter hashtag

Enes Kanter calls on world to #StandWithTaiwan

Enes Kanter. (Twitter, Enes Kanter photo)

Enes Kanter. (Twitter, Enes Kanter photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Stateless NBA player Enes Kanter on Thursday (Oct. 28) continued his criticism of the authoritarian regime in Beijing by expressing support for Taiwan on Twitter.

In a short tweet posted on Thursday, Kanter wrote, "Change is coming and no one can stop it." He included the hashtags "FreeTibet, #FreeUyghurs, #FreeHongKong, and #StandWithTaiwan.

The latter is notable because it was the first time Kanter had mentioned Taiwan over a week of protests against China's oppressive policies and the complicity of Western companies. Also included in the tweet are photos of NBA fans at a Boston Celtics home game holding up Tibetan and East Turkestan signs and displaying messages such as "Free Tibet," "Thank U Kanter," and "We Love Kanter!"

On Oct. 20, Kanter, who plays for the Celtics, suited up for a game with a pair of shoes with the words "Free Tibet" on them. On Oct. 22, the former Turkish citizen was seen sporting a pair of sneakers displaying the words "Free Uyghur" in support of the oppressed Turkic minority in China's Xinjiang region.

In his third expression of dissent, Kanter wore the "Free China" shoes during a game on Sunday (Oct. 24), during which he did not receive any playing time. On Oct. 26, Kanter posted a video in which he accused Nike of using Uyghur slave labor in China and in a second tweet posted images of a fourth pair of shoes with the words "hypocrite," "Nike," "made with slave labor," "modern day slaves," and "no more excuses" scrawled on the sides.

Kanter is a devout Muslim who was born in Switzerland and grew up in Turkey. He was selected by the Utah Jazz as the third overall pick in the first round of the NBA Draft in 2011.

He has been an outspoken critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's human rights violations. The strongman retaliated by revoking Kanter's passport in 2017, and in 2019 Turkey requested that Interpol issue a red notice for his arrest.