President Joe Biden and his administration have been painfully weak in standing up to the world’s bullies such as China and Middle East aggressors. However, professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics, Enes Kanter, has not; the center is being praised for his willingness to publicly stand against human rights abusers.
Last week Kanter criticized the Chinese government and President Xi Jinping, calling him a “brutal dictator” over the abuses against Uyghurs in Tibet. In a video posted to his personal Twitter account he lamented, “Under the Chinese government’s brutal rule, Tibetan people’s basic rights and freedoms are non-existent. They are not allowed to study and learn their languages and culture freely. They are not allowed to travel freely. They are not allowed to access information freely. The Tibetan people are not even allowed to worship freely.”
As punishment, a Chinese internet giant Tencent suspended the broadcast of Thursday’s game as well as all upcoming Boston Celtics games. National Review reports, “Multinational companies such as Nike, which rely on the Chinese market to sustain their rapid growth, have largely ignored Beijing’s egregious human rights abuses in Tibet, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang, where much of the country’s oppressed Uighur Muslim minorities reside.”
The aggressive move by China did not stop Kanter, it only strengthened him. His latest video doubled down on China and added references to Middle Eastern countries. “Right now as I speak this message, torture, rape, forced abortions, sterilizations, family separations, arbitrary detentions, concentration camps, political reeducation, forced labor … this is all happening right now to more than 1.8 million Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region in northwestern China.”
“The Chinese government has been taking sweeping measures to crackdown on the Uyghur people simply because they embrace their own religion, their own culture, language, history and identity,” he continued.
“The Uyghur region has become an open-air prison and surveillance state where freedoms are non-existent for the Uyghur people. The Chinese government has sent Uyghurs along with Kazaks, Tajiks and other Muslims groups to concentration camps for simply applying for a passport, for texting someone overseas or for believing in anything that does not align with the Chinese Communist Party’s agenda.”
Kanter has received praise from figures such as Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton who tweeted the athlete’s video along with the caption “Enes has courage. And he speaks the truth.” Joe Pompliano tweeted “when you are willing to risk your multi-million-dollar career for the betterment of individuals you don’t even know, that’s courage. Great job @EnesKanter.”
Speaking to leaders in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, UAE, and Iran, Kanter’s video continued, “it’s shameful and sad how you have decided to prioritize money and business with China over human rights…You call yourself Muslims, but you are just using that for show. You simply do not care about people.”
Concluding his message he said, “Heartless dictator of China, Xi Jinping, and the Communist Party of China, I’m calling you out right now in front of the whole world. Close down the slave labor camps and free the Uyghur people. Stop the genocide now.”
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