"I think the Chinese government actually enjoys knowing that they can actually force individuals and companies to capitulate to their own political ideology."
Businesses tell us they support justice.
"Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything," former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said in a Nike ad.
"Speak up for people who may not be able to be heard," says the NBA.
"Corporate PR nonsense," says journalist Melissa Chen in my new video.
"Nonsense," he says, because the NBA clearly doesn't want its staff to criticize injustices when those injustices are taking place in China.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted, "Fight for freedom, support Hong Kong."
good for him China destroyed freedom in Hong Kong.
But China didn't like to hear an NBA executive say that. Chinese television has stopped broadcasting Rockets games. The NBA apparently told its players and front offices to shut up. Morey deleted his tweet and instead tweeted that he "had no intention of causing offense."
The NBA itself also apologized to China, saying they were "disappointed" by Morey's "inappropriate" tweet. Lebron James called Morey "uninformed". James Harden said: "We love China."
"China is able to force these companies to accept its ideology," Chen laments.
This ideology is often grotesque. The United States and other countries accuse China of genocide against a predominantly Muslim minority, the Uyghurs.
China locks them up in "re-education" camps. Leaked satellite images show men blindfolded and hands tied behind their backs in what looks like a concentration camp.
"They are forced to work like slaves," says Chen.
Some Uyghurs who escaped say they were tortured.
But while the NBA runs ads that say "speak for people who may not be heard," it clearly doesn't want its players, coaches or executives to say anything about the Uyghur genocide.
Chamath Palihapitiya, co-owner of the Golden State Warriors, was unusually honest when he said, "No one cares what happens to the Uyghurs... We have a responsibility to take care of our own yard first."
I took his comment to Chen.
"Companies like Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola have part of their supply chain from this region," he replies. "In these areas, Uyghurs are forced to do forced labor."
Hollywood doesn't care either. The film Mulan was shot in the same region where Uyghurs are tortured. In the credits, Disney expressed "special thanks" to the government authorities in Xinjiang, where the abuse is taking place.
Fast and Furious 9 actor John Cena said while promoting his film among the people of Taiwan, "Taiwan is the first country to see F9."
What was wrong with that?
"He had the audacity to imply that Taiwan is a country," says Chen, "rather than a territory owned by China."
I don't know what China said to Cena or Universal Pictures, but soon Cena could be found on Chinese social media, creeping up on China and saying "sorry" over and over again. "I made a mistake... I really love and respect the Chinese people... I made a mistake," he said.
Chen calls it pathetic. "I think the Chinese government actually enjoys knowing that they can actually force individuals and companies to capitulate to their own political ideology."
Only one NBA player is principled enough to point out NBA hypocrisy: Boston Celtic's Enes Kanter Freedom. He slams players who don't speak up for fear of losing trade deals with China.
"Human and fundamental rights are much more important than any deal you can offer," he says. He loses lucrative shoe contracts because he sometimes puts messages like "Free Tibet" and "Stand Up Taiwan" on his shoes. He denounces the oppression of the Chinese Uyghurs.
So China will not broadcast Celtics games.
But Freedom continues to speak out, berating hypocrites like Nike, which works for social justice in the United States but is silent on human rights abuses in China.
The press rarely hints at hypocrisy, Chen says, because "it exposes the NBA's guard building."
Of course, companies exist to make money. Can they be expected to turn their backs on the Chinese market?