Chinese fans tear up tickets to protest NBA game in Shanghai amid tweet backlash

By Yang Hui in Shanghai and Yang Sheng in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/10 23:48:40

Chinese fans distribute the national flag ahead of the game. (Photo: Yang Hui/GT)

Chinese fans boycotted a controversial US National Basketball Association (NBA) game in Shanghai on Thursday by tearing up tickets they bought, others attended it but showed patriotism and expressed discontent with NBA at the sports center. 

The game was between the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers at the 18,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Arena. 

Six teenagers including one fan who preferred to be called "Jack" were distributing national flags to people as they were entering the center.

Jack told the Global Times he and his friends bought more than 10,000 flags and were handing them to spectators to show the NBA how "Chinese fans feel about their arrogant attitude."

A 19-year-old woman surnamed Zheng told the Global Times before entering the arena that she with a group of fans planned to sing Chinese national anthem before the game. "Although we love the players who are innocent and we really want to watch them play, but the fact is Hong Kong is part of China, and forever!" she said. 

Some fans flocked to Shanghai from Hubei, Zhejiang and Shandong provinces in Lakers, Nets, Chinese national team - and even Rockets uniforms.

The protests came in response to a tweet last week by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in support of Hong Kong riots, which seriously offended China's sovereignty and people's feelings. 

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver backed Morey's "freedom of expression" and refused to apologize for Morey's stance. 

Many Chinese mainland NBA fans uploaded videos on the country's Twitter-like Sina Weibo platform showing them tearing up their tickets and boycotting the NBA game in China.

User Liu Yang Cary posted himself saying "I bought the ticket for 16,000 yuan ($2,246) but I know clearly that I am a Chinese before I am a basketball fan." 

Another user with a handle of Jiang Taigong Diaoyu posted a video saying "Compared to the national dignity and unity, NBA is just balls." He then tore up three tickets and pointed to "China" on his T-shirt.

The game was not aired in China as Chinese broadcasters and distribution partners suspended cooperation with the NBA amid the tweet backlash. Empty seats were visible during the game in a video clip posted on the NBA's official Weibo account.

Newspaper headline: Chinese fans tear up tickets to protest NBA game in Shanghai

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