NBA star Enes Kanter isn’t backing down on China.
The Boston Celtics center who previously condemned Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “brutal dictator” is now calling out Nike for profiting off “modern day slavery” in the communist country, which has mass detained Uyghur Muslims and is using them for forced labor, according to the U.S. Department of State.
During Monday night’s game against the Charlotte Hornets, Kanter wore yet another pair of customized shoes with the words “Modern Day Slavery” and “No More Excuses” emblazoned on the sides of them.
He also posted a video to his Twitter account, rebuking Nike for its hypocritical silence on the well-established injustices and human rights abuses occurring in China.
“Nike remains vocal about injustice here in America, but, when it comes to China, Nike remains silent,” he said. “You do not address police brutality in China. You do not say a word about the oppression of minorities in China. You are scared to speak up.”
Kanter went on to ask the shoe manufacturer who in China assembles their products.
“Do you even know?” the athlete asked. “There are so many forced labor factories in China. For instance, Uyghur forced labor. It is modern day slavery, and it is happening right now in China.”
“Millions of Uyghurs are currently detained, sold, and assigned to work at forced labor camps, prisons, and factories across the country,” Kanter continued. “They are under constant surveillance, with long working hours and poor living conditions.”
“Don’t forget,” he added, “every time you put those shoes on your feet, or you put that T-shirt on your back, there are so many tears and so much oppression and so much blood behind it all.”
Kanter specifically singled out Nike co-founder Phil Knight, tweeting, “How about I book plane tickets for us and let’s fly to China together,” adding, “We can try to visit these slave labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.”
Earlier this year, Nike released a statement claiming it does not source products from the Xinjiang region, the epicenter of the Uyghur detainment.
“Nike is committed to ethical and responsible manufacturing and we uphold international labor standards,” the brand stated. “We are concerned about reports of forced labor in, and connected to, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).”
The company added it has “confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region.”
What else has Kanter said?
Last week, Kanter addressed “brutal dictator” Xi, condemning the Chinese government for its treatment of Tibet. The condemnation, dismissed by the communist regime as a publicity stunt, resulted in China removing Celtics games from its planned TV programming.
“My message to the Chinese government is free Tibet,” the Celtics star said. “Tibet belongs to Tibetans. I am here to add my voice and speak out about what is happening in Tibet. … Under the Chinese government’s brutal rule, Tibetan people’s basic rights and freedoms are nonexistent.
“For more than 70 years,” he continued, “Tibetan monks, nuns, intellectuals, writers, poets, community leaders, actors, and many more have been detained, sent to political re-education classes, subject to torture … and even been executed simply for exercising their freedoms that you and I take for granted.”
Kanter went on to accuse the “Chinese dictatorship of erasing Tibetan identity and culture.”
China, which seized control of Tibet in 1951, was none too pleased. Wang Wenbin, the spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said the athlete is “trying to get attention” and asserted his comments “were not worth refuting.”
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