China calls Enes Kanter Freedom a ‘virus’ and celebrates Celtics trade

A small article in China’s world times government propaganda publication celebrated the news, first shared by ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, that NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom had been traded from the Boston Celtics and had yet to land on a new team.

The article, quoting Chinese government-approved social media users, claimed Celtics fans were delighted to have ‘fighted the virus’, which stands for Freedom, and seemed to confirm that Chinese citizens would soon be able to watch games again. of the Celtics after the regime was banned. the team to prevent citizens from seeing Freedom. Chinese streamer Tencent, the only legal way for Chinese citizens to watch NBA games in the country, blocked all Celtics games indefinitely last year in response to Freedom’s activism against the Communist Party.

Wojnarowski, who has a belligerence record on behalf of defending communist China, reported that the Celtics traded Freedom to the Houston Rockets, who had selected to give him up.

“Freedom’s name did not directly appear in Chinese sports news on Deadline Day, but many Celtics fans posted on the Hupu basketball forum expressing their excitement as if they had ‘fought the virus “”, according to the Time. An unnamed alleged “Beijing-based sports commentator” added, “He didn’t focus on basketball as a player and lost his job… And Chinese fans can expect to watch the games. from Boston soon.”

The state propaganda outlet called Freedom a “below average player”, citing the short time he has received on the pitch since he vehemently condemned the Chinese Communist Party. Celtics coach Ime Udoka has only played Freedom an average of 12 minutes this season.

Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka, center, walks down the field with Josh Richardson (8), Grant Williams (12) and Enes Freedom (13) Friday, Jan. 21, 2022 in Boston (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer).

“Despite making a rare appearance this season, broadcasters in China have yet to pick up games featuring the Celtics, making the anti-China Kanter Freedom look like a burden on the league which numbers hundreds of millions. spectators in China,” said the world times claims.

The state newspaper said Freedom “wasn’t” popular in the league – despite there being no news of his full NBA retirement – and mocked him for appearances on Fox News, although Freedom has also conducted interviews on left-wing outlets such as CNN.

Freedom, a center with a long history of pro-democracy activism against its native Turkey’s Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, launched a campaign against communist China this season, outraged NBA officials by wearing sneakers on the country with artwork depicting various human rights abuses in Beijing, including the genocide of the Uyghur people, the cultural genocide in Tibet, the use of Falun Gong practitioners for live organ harvesting and China’s relentless harassment of the free nation of Tibet. More recently, Freedom has turned to powerful members of the NBA itself for their business ties to China, including publishing a list of other players with lucrative contracts with Chinese companies.

Freedom changed his last name after becoming a US citizen last year and has since embraced other human rights causes outside of China, including freedom struggles in Venezuela and Iran. None of these, however, caused concern from the NBA, as Freedom told CNN in November that NBA officials pressured him not to wear sneakers. with anti-Chinese messages on the ground.

“I was talking about all the human rights violations and injustices that have been happening in Turkey for ten years and I haven’t received a single phone call. I talk about China one day, and I was getting a phone call every two hours,” Freedom told CNN, accusing unnamed NBA officials of “begging” him to remove sneakers with pro-freedom messages. Tibet. The officials, he claimed, backed down after he asked them to clarify which league rule his boots violated.

the world timesA joyful celebration followed very little coverage of Freedom’s campaign against the Chinese Communist Party. The paper’s only significant refusal came in January, when the Times bizarrely accused Freedom of being a CIA agent.

“As Freedom made headlines with his ‘candid’ remarks, ‘Enes Kanter is from the CIA’ has become a meme on the net, with much speculation about his ties to Washington,” said the world times alleged, reprinting Turkish government conspiracy theories that Freedom’s ties to Muslim religious leader Fethullah Gülen indicate Freedom itself has ties to the CIA.

FILE - In this March 15, 2014 file photo, Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, sits at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. A Turkish government lawyer, Robert Amsterdam, said that "there are indications of direct involvement" during the Friday July 15, 2016 coup attempt by Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who lives in exile in Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Selahattin Sevi, File)

In this March 15, 2014, file photo, Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, sits at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Selahattin Sevi, File).

Erdogan has accused Gülen, a Pennsylvania-based cleric who was once a key Erdogan ally, of masterminding the allegedly failed July 2016 coup against him. Erdogan and his government demanded that Washington extradite Gülen – and Freedom for being a member of Gülen’s Hizmet movement – ​​based on this claim, but he offered no supporting evidence, leading to the next three presidents to ignore it.

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