Several Chinese businesses are suspending ties with the Houston Rockets after the American basketball team’s general manager expressed support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests.
Daryl Morey set off a firestorm in China over the weekend when he posted an image on Twitter that read, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing, which controls the former British colony, have been fueled by months of political unrest.
The backlash from China followed quickly. The Chinese Basketball Association said Sunday it would suspend all cooperation with the Texas-based team. The association’s chairman is Yao Ming, a former Rockets player.
China’s consulate general in Houston also urged the team to “clarify and immediately correct the mistakes” in a statement on Sunday.
The NBA team’s partnerships in China were thrown into doubt. CCTV 5, the sports channel of China’s top state broadcaster, announced that it would suspend airing Houston Rockets events on television.