TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — NBA player Enes Kanter on Wednesday (Nov. 10) posted photos of shoes with "Stand with Taiwan," "Democracy," and Independence" painted on the side, marking the seventh act of footwear defiance by the athlete over the past three weeks.
On Wednesday, Kanter, who plays for the Boston Celtics, on Twitter posted photos of the latest pair of high-top sneakers custom-painted by Chinese dissident artist Badiucao (巴丢草), who currently lives in Australia. In his Twitter post, Kanter started out by stating that Taiwan will "never surrender to the EVIL Chinese Communist Party."
He pointed out that Taiwan is a democratic, free nation and posted the hashtag #StandWithTaiwan. The Celtics center declared that Taiwan's future "must be determined by the Taiwanese people."
Kanter closed by asserting, "Taiwan is NOT a part of China and NEVER will be!" This was followed by the hashtags #IslandOfResilience and #FreedomShoes, the latter of which has featured on all of his provocative shoes.
The front of the sneakers features the white-and-green pro-Taiwan independence banner, while the back displays a Taiwanese flag. The outside of the right shoe shows people holding a sign that reads, "Taiwan belongs to the Taiwanese people" while a banner in the background ominously states, "HK today, Taiwan Tomorrow."
The outside of the left shoe shows a protester wearing a yellow ribbon around his head, which signifies support for Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, and carrying a banner that reads "Stand with Taiwan." The inside of the right shoe shows a clenched fist breaking away from shackles and "Independence" in English and Chinese, and the inside of the left shoe shows a similar image with the word "Democracy."
Previous pairs of shoes have shown support for Hong Kong's democracy activists, called for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, criticized Nike for allegedly supporting slave labor in Xinjiang, mocked Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping (習近平), supported the Uyghurs, and backed an independent Tibet. Typically, Kanter puts on each pair of shoes when suiting up for a game, much to the chagrin of NBA officials.
Kanter on Wednesday told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that NBA officials have tried to coax him into not wearing the shoes at games. However, he said that he refused to take the shoes off because they do not violate any rules and he is taking the league up on its policy of "giving freedom to our players to talk about all the injustices happening around the world."
Early on Thursday morning (Nov. 11), Taiwan's representative to the U.S., Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) retweeted Kanter's post and observed that the shoes have a "strong and serious message." She concurred that Taiwan is "democratic and free" and that its future must be determined by the people of Taiwan, closing with the hashtag "StandWithTaiwan.
Taiwan will never surrender to the EVIL Chinese Communist Party.— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) November 10, 2021
Taiwan is a DEMOCRATIC and FREE country.
The future of Taiwan must be determined by the Taiwanese people.
Taiwan is NOT a part of China
and NEVER will be! #IslandOfResilience#FreedomShoes pic.twitter.com/3yxWnfbWLK