Asia/Pacific

Enes Kanter Freedom: The IOC ‘is in bed’ with Chinese government

Associated Press/Nick Wass

Outspoken NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom said that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “is in bed” with the Chinese government. 

In an interview with The Dispatch published Monday, Freedom shared his thoughts on the IOC’s handling of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai’s claims of sexual abuse by a senior communist party official, saying that the committee is scared to stand up for human rights. 

The IOC has also tried to remain neutral as countries including the U.S. have staged a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Games in protest of China’s human rights abuses, including the alleged genocide of Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang province.  

“First off, people need to understand, the IOC, International Olympic Committee, is scared to talk about human rights because they know China is one of the worst in this regard. They will rather take China’s might than talk about values,” Freedom told The Dispatch.

“The reality is, the people need to understand, the IOC is in bed … with the Chinese government. They do not care about human rights. They care about publicity and money.” 

Peng, a former doubles champion, disappeared from public view after writing in a now-deleted social media post that former vice president Zhang Gaoli forced her to have sex with him, despite repeated refusals, following a round of tennis. 

IOC president Thomas Bach has since met with Peng for a series of meetings, and has said that further investigations into the matter should be up to her — despite concerns she is being closely monitored and pressured by party officials. 

In an interview with French sports news outlet L’Équipe published last week, Peng announced she is retiring from tennis and called the sexual abuse claims a “huge misunderstanding.”

The U.S. has been joined by several other countries, including the United Kingdom and Japan, in withholding government officials from attending the games. 

Responding to questions about mounting diplomatic boycotts in December, Bach said: “If we would start to take political sides on one way or the other we would never get all the 206 national Olympic committees to the Olympic Games.”

Freedom, who is currently a free agent after the league’s trade deadline passed on Thursday, is scheduled to appear as a speaker at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference. 

Freedom, an 11-year NBA veteran, has regularly made headlines in recent months for being a prominent critic of the Chinese government and the refusal by the league and its stars to speak out about abuses in the country. 

Freedom called out Los Angeles Lakers star forward LeBron James for staying silent on his endorsement partner, Nike, practices in China while profiting from sneakers made in the country and has taken shots at Jeremy Lin, Michael Jordan and Golden State Warriors investor Chamath Palihapitiya.

Tags Beijing China Enes Kanter Freedom International Olympic Committee Peng Shuai

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video