Yao Ming invites China critic Enes Kanter to visit | Inquirer Sports
Close  

Yao Ming invites China critic Enes Kanter to visit

/ 07:27 PM January 17, 2022
Enes Kanter

A view of the shoes worn by Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at State Farm Arena on November 17, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images/AFP

Former basketball star Yao Ming on Monday invited staunch Beijing critic Enes Kanter Freedom to visit China after the Boston Celtics player urged athletes to boycott the Winter Olympics in the capital.

Kanter has emerged as one of China’s most vocal critics in the sporting world, a rare athlete willing to forgo lucrative endorsements to speak on issues such as Beijing’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim and Tibetan minorities.

ADVERTISEMENT

He has repeatedly spoken out on social media and been a guest on Western news shows as the Olympics nears.

In recent interviews, he has accused China of using “money to buy silence” and called on other athletes “to pick morals over money”.

FEATURED STORIES

He also said the diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Games by the United States, Britain and Australia was “good, but not enough”.

Yao, China’s most famous basketball star and one of its Olympic bid ambassadors, was asked about Kanter’s politics at a press gathering in Beijing on Monday.

“I’ve heard of him, but I can’t really judge him because I don’t know him,” the retired Houston Rockets player and current president of the China Basketball Association said.

“If there is an opportunity, I would like to invite him to visit China… Then he may have a more comprehensive understanding of us.”

Chinese officials have previously invited foreign journalists and diplomats to take part in state-arranged tours to Xinjiang to counter claims by human rights groups and Washington that a genocide is being carried out against Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities, including forced labor in factories and internment camps where detainees have allegedly suffered torture and sexual abuse.

But foreign reporters regularly encounter interference, surveillance and even detention by police and unidentified individuals while attempting to report from the ground in Xinjiang.

Kanter was raised in Turkey where the plight of China’s Uyghurs is closely followed. He is also a vocal critic of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

ADVERTISEMENT

He added “Freedom” to his name late last year when he gained US citizenship.

China suspended domestic broadcasts of NBA games for a year after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of Hong Kong democracy protesters in 2019. The country is by far the NBA’s largest overseas market.

More recently, the Women’s Tennis Association suspended all its China tournaments over concerns about the safety of Chinese player Peng Shuai, who accused a former Communist Party leader of sexual assault.

RELATED STORIES

Celtics’ Enes Kanter slams China’s ‘brutal dictator’ Xi Jinping

Get the hottest sports news straight into your inbox

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Enes Kanter, Yao Ming
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our sports news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.