Boston Celtics games pulled in China after Kanter calls Xi a brutal dictator
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The NBA has once again come under fire in China after Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter called the country's leader, Xi Jinping, a "brutal dictator."

Kanter also tweeted a video in support of independence for Tibet and also wore sneakers emblazoned with the words "Free Tibet" during Wednesday night's game against the New York Knicks.

Soon after the tweet, highlights from the Celtics’ game against the Knicks were made unavailable on the Tencent Sports app primarily used in the country to stream NBA games, Reuters reported.


The upcoming Celtics games also appear to be unavailable for live stream.

"Under the Chinese government’s brutal rule, Tibetan peoples’ basic rights and freedoms are non-existent," Kanter said. 

"I say, ‘Shame on the Chinese government.’ The Chinese dictatorship is erasing Tibetan identity and culture," he added.

Tencent and the NBA did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

Kanter, a Turkish national, is also a staunch critic of Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and has often spoken out against the leader.

China has repeatedly said that Tibet, the northwest region of Xinjiang and Hong Kong issues are “internal affairs,” not human rights issues, and that other countries should not interfere.

Just two years ago, the NBA was swept into controversy when then-Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

NBA officials issuing a subsequent apology after China removed games from state-run television, a decision that cost the NBA hundreds of millions of dollars just before the coronavirus pandemic imposed further financial pains on the league.

Morey's tweets and the reactions by the NBA and China also created a huge political controversy for the league, which faced accusations it had backed down to Beijing at the expense of human rights.