China state TV to suspend broadcast of NBA exhibition games

SHANGHAI: China's state-run broadcaster said on Tuesday (Oct 8) it would "immediately suspend" plans to broadcast a pair of NBA pre-season exhibition games being staged in China this week as the fallout grew over an NBA's executive's tweet in support of protesters in Hong Kong.

"We believe that any comments that challenge national sovereignty and social stability are not within the scope of freedom of speech," China Central Television (CCTV) said on its social media account.

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"To this end, CCTV's Sports Channel has decided to immediately suspend plans to broadcast the NBA preseason (China Games) and will immediately investigate all cooperation and communication involving the NBA."

Earlier today, we saw Chinese celebrities pulling out of NBA events that are due to take place in Shanghai over the next two days. An NBA Cares event supposed to take place today has also been cancelled.

— Olivia Siong (@OliviaSiongCNA) October 8, 2019

The US basketball league is facing a mounting backlash in China over a tweet last week by Houston Rockets' general manager Daryl Morey expressing support for protesters in semi-autonomous Hong Kong who have staged increasingly violent demonstrations to demand more freedoms.

The announcement made clear CCTV was referring to two annual NBA exhibition games in China, which this year pit the Los Angeles Lakers against the Brooklyn Nets.

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They are set to play in Shanghai on Thursday and in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on Saturday.

CCTV made no mention of games in the upcoming regular season, nor did it give any further details on its plans to review all ties with the NBA.

The move by CCTV is the latest indication that the NBA may suffer significant damage in the hugely important Chinese market.

READ: US lawmakers lash 'shameful' NBA response to Hong Kong protests tweet

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CCTV and Tencent Holdings – which streams NBA games in China – had alreRead More – Source