ESPN airs map showing Chinese dominion over South China Sea

Mind you, they’ve already taken to describing Hong Kong human-rights demonstrators as “anti-government” protesters, the most value-neutral phrase they could conceivably use to please their Chinese patrons. Every liberty movement is “anti-government,” after all. If you’ve been to Philadelphia, chances are you’ve visited its most popular historical attraction, the Anti-Government Bell.

I shouldn’t joke about that, actually. The way things are going in Philly, they really might start calling it the Anti-Government Bell if Xi Jinping insists.

Use of the word “anti-government” to describe Hong Kong’s motives is no longer the most egregious example of ESPN assimilating Chinese state propaganda. Behold:

That dashed line is the so-called Nine-Dash Line, which China claims marks the boundaries of its proper dominion over the South China Sea. International bodies don’t recognize that claim. An international court in the Hague ruled against China on the question as recently as 2016, in fact. The line in the ESPN graphic doesn’t come from any official international map.

So how the hell did it end up on SportsCenter?

When do we see the first anti-Uighur “30 for 30” documentary on this garbage network in order to appease Disney’s masters?

The Washington Wizards hosted a Chinese basketball team for an exhibition last D.C. and things went … as you’d expect:

Is “Google Uighurs” a “political” message? That was the excuse in Philly for confiscating a fan’s “Free Hong Kong” sign, which does clearly take a stance on a matter of political import. “Google Uighurs” does not, yet it was banned too. What if fans start waving signs that read, simply, “Uighurs”? Does that get suppressed?

I mean, we don’t Americans getting curious about the subject.

There were other pro-Hong-Kong protesters both inside and outside the arena last night. I’m too jaded to believe that demonstrations at NBA games will persist this year once this dispute with China fades from the news cycle, but maybe the visibility of this clusterfark will wake Americans up to Chinese bootlicking by its favorite corporations more generally. Case in point:

Apple removed an app late Wednesday that enabled protesters in Hong Kong to track the police, a day after facing intense criticism from Chinese state media for it, plunging the technology giant deeper into the complicated politics of a country that is fundamental to its business…

In a statement on Wednesday, Apple said, “The app displays police locations and we have verified with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the app has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement. This app violates our guidelines and local laws.”

Michael Brendan Dougherty notes that it’s bad enough Apple would deprive the protesters of a tool that makes oppression by the state more difficult; the insult to the injury is the company adopting Beijing’s own party line about the protesters being the aggressors in the stand-off. That’s the common thread between Apple, the NBA, and ESPN. It’s not good enough for them to do China’s bidding. Validating China’s view that its enemies are in the wrong is essential.

The exhibition game today in Shanghai between the Lakers and Nets was played as scheduled, as I suspected would happen. China’s not going to ban a popular spectator sport indefinitely over one tweet by one guy who’s been isolated by virtually his entire profession. The point in penalizing the league this week by knocking it off Chinese TV, etc, was to show NBA personnel that further pronouncements on Hong Kong and other “internal matters” won’t be tolerated. This week was a wrist slap, next time it’s the death penalty. Do you think America’s “wokest sports league” got the message? I’ll leave you with this to judge.