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Chinese media celebrate Enes Kanter Freedom's cut from NBA

Kanter Freedom has been a critic of the Chinese Communist Party over human rights abuses such as the Uyghur genocide.

Published: February 13, 2022 9:32pm

Updated: February 13, 2022 9:46pm

Chinese propaganda outlet The Global Times celebrated Enes Kanter Freedom's cut from the NBA last week, and mocked the anti-Chinese Communist Party basketball player as a "below-average player" who has "who has been ignorant and arrogant on China's core interests and internal affairs."

Kanter Freedom on Thursday was traded by the Boston Celtics to the Houston Rockets, where he was waived shortly thereafter. 

The Celtics used him in 25 of 53 games at 11.7 minutes a game, The National Review reports. Over his seven previous seasons, he scored 19.9 points per 36 minutes. With his lack of playing time, he managed 11.2 points per 36 minutes. The 29-year-old Kanter Freedom averaged 14 rebounds per 36 minutes, which ranks him as one of the better NBA players.

Kanter Freedom, a Turkish Muslim, added Freedom to his name in November after becoming a U.S. citizen. He has been a critic of the Chinese Communist Party over human rights abuses such as the Uyghur genocide.

ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday tweeted that the Rockets were waiving Kanter Freedom. His tweet was inundated with responses from anonymous users celebrating the news.

Global Times then pointed to the Twitter comments against Kanter Freedom to support their view. The Times notably ignored the dozens of tweets from verified U.S. officials and celebrities in support of Kanter Freedom.

The paper wrote that Chen Weihua, EU Bureau Chief of the propaganda paper China Daily, received more than 1,600 likes on a tweet telling Kanter Freedom, "Now you can be a full time John Bolton puppet."

The Global Times identified people commenting against Kanter Freedom as "netizens," which are anonymous online accounts often used by China to justify their points of view.

"'I always thought of you as someone that stood for freedom, and then I heard you're going to CPAC, the exact people that are actively taking away freedoms in the US,' said another netizen, indicating Freedom's future plan as a speaker at the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)," the Times writes. The aforementioned anti-Republican tweet has 25 likes and was made by "SkyscraperTreehouse," an account with 56 followers. 

"Freedom repeatedly made false and irresponsible comments regarding China's Xinjiang in 2021. Meanwhile, he publicly declared his support for Xizang and Taiwan secessionists," the paper wrote.

Conservatives voiced their support for Kanter Freedom after he was cut last week. 

"The NBA has made a calculated choice to kowtow to the CCP and turn a blind eye to their genocide and oppression by firing @EnesFreedom," Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) tweeted. "I stand with Enes, who has bravely defended what’s right no matter what."

"Kaepernick got endorsement deals and media clout for kneeling during the national anthem. Meanwhile, @EnesFreedom takes a career hit for exposing the atrocities committed by the #CCP," Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) tweeted. "These pathetic double standards play right into China’s hands. WAKE UP!"

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