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NBA player slams China's 'brutal' Xi in social media missive

Agence France-Presse
NBA player slams China's 'brutal' Xi in social media missive
Enes Kanter of the Boston Celtics poses for a photo during Media Day at High Output Studios on September 27, 2021 in Canton, Massachusetts.
Omar Rawlings / Getty Images / AFP

WASHINGTON – An NBA player on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time) slammed China's President Xi Jinping as a "brutal dictator" and declared that "Tibet belongs to the Tibetan people" , risking reigniting tensions between Beijing and the US basketball league.

Enes Kanter, who plays as a center for the Boston Celtics, wrote on Twitter: "Dear Brutal Dictator XI JINPING and the Chinese Government. Tibet belongs to the Tibetan people!"

"I stand with my Tibetan brothers and sisters, and I support their calls for Freedom," he added, next to a picture of some sneakers adorned with Tibetan iconography and sporting the slogan "Free Tibet".

Tibet has alternated over the centuries between independence and control by China, which claims it "peacefully liberated" the rugged plateau in 1951 and brought infrastructure and education to the previously underdeveloped region.

But human rights campaigners and exiles say the Chinese central government practices religious repression, torture, forced sterilization and cultural erosion through forced re-education.

The message by Kanter — who is vocal in defense of various political causes — was also posted on Facebook.

Global brands including the NBA have in recent years been consumed by PR crises and faced financial repercussions in China after touching politically sensitive subjects.

In 2019, Chinese broadcasters dropped the league after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted a message of support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

CHINA ENES KANTER NBA
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