Writes Marc Thiessen in the Washington Post on why “Enes Freedom was cut for exposing how U.S. corporations became foreign agents of Communist China“:
When the United States supported China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in the 1990s, through its admission in 2001, the hope was that U.S. businesses would influence China to be less repressive. Instead, U.S. businesses became lobbyists for the totalitarian regime here at home. It’s not the Chinese government that is trying to silence Freedom; it’s the NBA — worried about its bottom line and its corporate sponsors — who pressured Freedom to stop criticizing China, and then clearly drove him from the court when he refused. The Chinese Communist Party sat back and watched while its paid vassals did its dirty work.
Their malign influence extends beyond the basketball court. U.S. corporations now effectively act as foreign agents of the Chinese regime, lobbying Congress on its behalf. Freedom pointed out that U.S. corporations such as Apple, Coca-Cola and Nike lobbied against the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which bans imported goods made with slave labor. “Instead of Communist Party, they are the ones that are doing their propaganda,” he said.
Then there is the hypocrisy. Companies such as Coca-Cola spoke out against Georgia’s voting law but now sponsor the Olympics in a country engaged in genocide. They “preach social justice at home but ignore it when it could affect their revenue” from China, Freedom says.
When he became a U.S. citizen in November, he changed his last name from Kanter to Freedom. Now, for exercising his newfound freedoms, he might lose his basketball career. “I’m 29,” he told me. “I’m healthy. I can play another six years. So, hope that’s not the case.” But he adds, “If that is the reason that I am not going to be able to play basketball again, then you know what? Oh well. I can look back at least and say I did the right thing.”
Many other athletes share Enes Kanter Freedom’s convictions, but not his courage — which is why Beijing made an example of him. The Chinese regime might have the power to silence its critics at home. But for the NBA to help a totalitarian dictatorship reach into this country and punish one of its leading critics is a disgrace.