Pando

Boiling The Frog

By Cyan Banister , written on October 24, 2019

From The Freedom Desk

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my tweets about how China is “boiling the frog” here in the US and across the world. Things have been slowly heating up for some time but what happened with China and the NBA made a few people take notice of how much power China is already exerting on what US citizens do and say.  

Here’s what happened. With protesters in Hong Kong fighting for their human rights against an oppressive regime, Daryl Morey, General Manager for the Houston Rockets, had the courage to do what any American should feel comfortable doing — speaking out in support of their efforts with a tweet. That tweet, now removed, was followed by massive fallout between the NBA and the Chinese government who demanded that Daryl Morey be fired. The NBA refused to discipline Mr. Morey but continues to seek ways to do business in China.

LeBron James stepped in to roll in the mud by stating that he believed Morey was “either misinformed or not really educated on the situation” with the NBA and China and insisted that the Rockets general manager hadn’t properly considered the repercussions of his words. LeBron continued, "So many people could have been harmed, not only financially but physically, emotionally, spiritually."

This is the same LeBron who previously posted -Injustice Anywhere Is A Threat To Justice Everywhere-  Our Lives Begin To End The Day We Become Silent About Things That Matter-#ThankYouMLK50 

Look, we are all hypocrites in some way or another, but being “woke” for me and not for thee seems indefensible. He was right the first time and his complete turn around in the face of injustice was to side with a country that abuses its own citizens in ways that are beyond unethical.

Corporations such as Nike use injustice to fuel sales and make it look like they care when it suits them, but perhaps all they really care about is profit over human suffering. Where is Nike now? For that matter, where is Hollywood? Where’s the news media? 1/7th of the population of Hong Kong took to the streets to protest extradition to China, asking China to honor their agreement around one country, two systems. Where are the tech titans? All of the people who stood up for human rights here don’t care about human rights elsewhere, or at least don’t care enough to risk impacting their bottom line. Unlike LeBron, I do not believe they are somehow more enlightened or educated for not speaking out.

You see, we don’t just buy physical goods from China. China has infiltrated everything. Video games, Hollywood, our media, venture funds, real-estate, sports, fashion and even gay hookup sites such as Grindr. One of the top apps that kids use right now is Chinese-based TiKTok and guess who the global giant is on face recognition? You guessed it - China.

They spy on us through hardware they manufacture that we continue to buy because we can’t have it made anywhere else at margins we will accept. They reverse engineer and steal our innovation. We just decide it is business as usual.

Make no mistake that any business we do with a Chinese corporation we are doing indirectly with the Chinese government. There are divisions of Chinese companies whose sole job is censorship. Chinese laws demand work for the national security interests of an overreaching and cruel government. Those in Hong Kong know that if they end up in China, they may never be seen again and that there isn’t such a thing as justice there.

So what can we do about it? Well, either the frog is boiled or it isn’t. Like in the Matrix, it’s time to wake the fuck up and think about the future. Will short term gains with the cost of our freedoms be worth it? Do we want to live in a world where it’s dangerous to be gay, practice a religion, question our government, etc? If we don’t, we must stand up because this is more than a basketball game. This is more than Hong Kong. The chess board is the world.

I dare you to watch the protests in Hong Kong where they fly our flag and sing our national anthem and not have it impact you. In many ways they love our country more than some of us do. They believe in a United States that I also grew up to believe in, one in which they could even come here and become part of our country to escape places like China. Like many immigrants, they are industrious and hard working people who want the ability to be themselves. We should celebrate that.

Sometimes we have a lot to lose. By taking the stance that I have, I’ll never be able to enter China again. I’ll most likely never be able to do business with China and I’m sure that somehow someday I’ll be punished in some mysterious unforeseen way.

My friend Lee Bishop and I started a t-shirt giveaway for the Chase Arena and our shirts are the colors of the Warriors. I love the Warriors and our family has been season ticket holders since before they kicked ass and had Steph Curry. Why the Warriors? Well, it takes a spark to ignite a flame. First there was the Clippers, then us, then the Lakers, Rockets and now the Raptors. People are volunteering their time, energy and money to shed a light on something that should be way more controversial than the media would have you believe.

The shirt give away for the opening night of the Warriors in which we will give out thousands of shirts by hundreds of volunteers might not move the needle, but those in Hong Kong have noticed our spark. They’ve reached out to us and that’s the fuel we need to keep going. Every shirt will hopefully go into the hands of a person who might question what they see and what they hear and try to figure out in their own time when they will take a strong stance.

If we are lucky we can reach a larger audience. If we are even luckier, they will bravely put those shirts on.

Will you take a stand with us? If so, please tweet your public support of Hong Kong, like a South Park tweet or if you have family ties and too much to lose, back our GoFundMe so we can give out more and more shirts and continue to spread the word about the police brutality and injustices in Hong Kong.