China blacks out NBA telecast

The US government widened its trade blacklist to include some of China’s top artificial intelligence startups, punishing Beijing for its treatment of Muslim minorities and ratcheting up tensions ahead of high-level trade talks in Washington this week.

The Trump administration has blacklisted 28 Chinese entities linked to Beijing’s “campaign” of repression against the Uighurs of the Xinjiang province and China has suspended the airing of NBA games over the league’s support of a team manager’s tweet expressing solidarity with Hong Kong protestors.

The blacklisted entities were Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region People’s Government Public Security Bureau, 19 subordinate elements, and eight commercial entities including Hikvision and Dahua Technology, two of the world’s largest makers of video surveillance devices

“The US government and department of commerce cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement announcing the listing on Monday.

China has faced global condemnation for putting more than a million Uighur muslims in internment camps on the pretext of preventing extremism. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called the treatment of Uighurs the “stain of the century”.

In separate developments, China’s state TV has suspended the airing of NBA games, which accounted for more than 500 million viewers last season, over a tweet from Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey supporting Hong Kong protests.

The basketball league, which is reported to be more popular in China than in the US and has hundreds of stores there, had earlier expressed regrets for Morey’s tweet eager to not upset the authorities because of the financial implications. But it reversed its stand coming under criticism from a dozen US lawmakers for capitulating to the Chinese.

“I recognize our initial statement left people angered, confused or unclear on who we are or what the NBA stands for. Let me be more clear,” Silver said in a statement. “Values of equality, respect and freedom of expression have long defined the NBA – and will continue to do so.”

Hindustan Times, Washington