Silenced by a Dollar

With the Thanksgiving season upon us, it’s time we recognize some of the aspects of our lives that go underappreciated or flat out unnoticed. As Americans, we enjoy our lives with the freedom of expression and the right to speak our minds as we please. Unfortunately, this isn’t a luxury everyone in the world enjoys. Recently, Hong Kong has gained attention with multiple protests taking place with many people fighting for their right to be free against the Chinese government. Until 1997, Britain actually had control over the territory of Hong Kong, but then the Chinese government regained it as a part of China. For a while, Hong Kong has operated relatively separate from the rest of China but tensions have always been high between the two and recently they reached a boiling point. Hong Kong is fighting for its freedom while the Chinese is making sure it silences all the noise at all costs, whether that noise is coming directly from Hong Kong or anywhere else in the world.

But while that in itself is a problem, another concern is what’s happening right here at home. In its efforts to quiet the noise, the Chinese government is taking advantage of it’s large influence as a world market by threatening to distance itself from any large corporation that tries to side itself with Hong Kong. The most frightening part about that is, it is actually working. In the past months we have seen flat out embarrassing examples of U.S. figures and corporations selling out instead of siding with freedom.

Take the NBA for example –an organization well known for its clean image and its willingness to innovate and take chances. They have seemingly been silenced through fear of losing China as a marketing partner. Players, in some cases, have refused to answer questions on the Hong Kong protests. In a specific case involving LeBron James, arguably the face of the NBA and a role model to millions of kids around the world, the NBA general manager, Daryl Morey, tweeted out, “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.” When asked for his take on the situation James responded by tweeting, “I think people need to understand what a tweet or statement can do to others. And I believe nobody stopped and considered what would happen.” That tweet was generally received by the public as James saying that Morey was in the wrong for standing up for Hong Kong’s freedom because it affected people’s pockets. This is especially alarming, due to James’ partnership with Nike, a company that makes more than six BILLION dollars from China; therefore, when he alludes to being against Morey’s actions, it’s clear that he is really putting the dollar above all else.

Within the same month their have been cases of fans being kicked out of arenas for simply holding up signs in support of Hong Kong, and even reporters being stripped of a microphone because they decided to ask for a player’s take on the situation. In an attempt to pretend like nothing is going on and sweep everything under the rug, the NBA has instead given light to a cruel reality: Everyone is all for freedom and basic rights, until it starts to affect their own agendas.

For more information on this topic and other news involving Hong Kong’s protests see the links below: