Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's comments on Hong Kong have triggered widespread condemnation, with a number of Chinese stars pulling out of the celebrations for the NBA China Games 2019.
Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, file photo. (Photo: China Daily)
Pop group UNINE, singer and actor Fan Chengcheng, actors Bai Jingting, Li Yifeng and Wu Jinyan, as well as stage actor and singer Zheng Yunlong, have issued statements through their studios and Sina Weibo accounts saying that they will adhere to the one-China principle and maintain the reunification of China.
They said they will not participate in the Weibo NBA Fan Night to be held Oct 9 and the NBA China Games 2019.
Many supported the stars' statement online, with some saying the NBA's door to China has been closed by Morey.
Chinese basketball fans and organizations have taken a strong stance against Daryl Morey's tweet backing protesters in Hong Kong.
In a statement published Saturday, the Chinese Basketball Association expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with Morey's comments, saying that it will suspend partnerships and exchanges with the Rockets.
The Chinese league has also canceled its four preseason games against NBA Development League teams, including Rockets affiliate the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, originally scheduled for Oct 19 and 20 in Suzhou, Jiangsu province.
The Chinese Consulate General in Houston issued a statement saying it was "deeply shocked" by Morey's "erroneous comments". The consulate also urged the Rockets to "correct the error and take immediate concrete measures to eliminate the adverse impact".
One of the most followed NBA franchises in China, the Rockets will be blocked in the team's biggest overseas market in the new season, since both China Central Television and the league's digital partner Tencent announced the suspension of all broadcasting and livestreaming, as well as news coverage, of the franchise in protest of Morey's tweet.
China's biggest online shopping platform, Taobao, which is owned by Alibaba, removed all Rockets-related products from its e-commerce outlets on Monday afternoon.