China won’t show NBA preseason games as backlash over Hong Kong tweet grows

Hong Kong (CNN Business)China won’t broadcast or stream NBA preseason games held in the country. It’s a dramatic escalation of a political firestorm that began when the general manager of the Houston Rockets expressed support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

CCTV’s sports channel said Tuesday that it had “decided to immediately halt” broadcasts of the basketball league’s preseason matches in China after it expressed its “strong dissatisfaction” over NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s response to Daryl Morey’s tweet. The broadcaster is also reviewing its wider relationship with the NBA.

Tencent (TCEHY), the NBA’s exclusive digital partner in China, also said it would suspend live streaming for two NBA preseason games in China.

The controversy began when Morey tweeted his support for the demonstrations in Hong Kong over the weekend. His post, which has since been deleted, included an image that read, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” The former British colony now controlled by China has been rocked by months of political unrest.

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