The NBA/Hong Kong Tweet Controversy, and the Symbolism of the Logo

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Sinologist (and Penn professor) Victor Mair (Language Log) has more on one of the less discussed features of the now-famous Tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey:

The question Prof. Mair discusses is: What's with the logo? Here's what the Stand With Hong Kong Facebook page says:

After Daryl Morey reposted our logo in an effort to #StandWithHK and Hongkongers' ongoing fight for freedom and democracy, the Chinese state intimidated both him and the NBA into silence. But what does our logo actually mean?

Our logo consists of the Chinese character for "person/people (人)", repeated five times and converging from around the globe on one place—Hong Kong. The number five represents the five key demands made by protesters in June 2019. The form of the logo resembles the shape of an opened umbrella, a well-known symbol of the democracy movement. It also brings to mind the bauhinia, a flower native to Hong Kong and its official symbol.

We created this logo to raise international awareness of the situation in Hong Kong. Hongkongers across the world stand united in our fight for freedom, building on a long history of protest and resistance.

We are not afraid of intimidation & censorship. Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.

Will you join us and #StandWithHK?

standwithhk.org

P.S. NBA, don't you think our logo looks like a team huddle? This is part of the meaning of the design as well.

NEXT: Trump Is Still Losing His Own Trade War

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  1. These corporations and orgs were so brave standing up on twitter against the vast hordes of antitransgender bathroom and men’s rights activists but now they shrivel up the second Uncle Mao casts a frown their way? What happened?

    1. What happened? Money happened. Liberals (and apolitical folks) can whore their integrity just as quickly and dispassionately as conservatives. Which is shocking news to no one. Pretty much all large-scale/international businesses don’t want to screw up their chance to suckle at the teat of China’s consumers.

    2. China actually represents a real threat to their future business and profits, by threatening to kick out the NBA, if the NBA doesn’t toe the line. If the NBA says something China doesn’t like, the NBA gets kicked out, and doesn’t get to come back for a long time.

      The state of North Carolina (as a counter example)…does not represent a “real threat”. And it’s not because of how big NC is, but because of American culture. No one believes that the state of North Carolina will kick out the NBA, if the NBA doesn’t “agree with” North Carolina laws. That’s not how things work in America.

      If the NBA protests in NC, they can do so…then they can (and will) quietly go back in when things have quieted down to get more profits. And NC will let them. Because we, in America, believe in a diversity of opinions, and that’s OK.

      1. In both cases they kneel to the money. Both are loud virtue signalling.

        In the case of China, the signaled virtue is “We can expect to help export censorship to other nations”. “How wise you are.”

    3. They must think transes can use the wrong bathrooms over in China

      1. If they’re peeing in the bathrooms, they’re in the right rooms for that.

      2. They don’t need bathrooms. They pee on the spot when apprehended by the authorities…

    4. “now they shrivel up the second Uncle Mao casts a frown their way? What happened?”

      Turns out that Uncle Mao has his own country. Whereas the anti-trans folks are here in MY country. Fix THIS country’s screwed up bits before starting in on all the other countries’ screwed up bits.

  2. Great logo, even without the explanation.

    1. To me it looks like a soccer ball (or a FIFA World Cup logo).

  3. What are the five key demands? I recall one of them concerned extradition and that law was repealed.

    What’s the status of the other four?

    1. https://standwithhk.org/

      Universal suffrage, i.e. ability for individuals to vote with equal weighting as any other, and to run for office without arbitrary pre-screening

      Establishment of an Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate police brutality and root causes of the protests since June 2019

      Retraction of the ‘riot’ designation of the initial protests in June 2019

      Amnesty for protesters arrested in relation to the movement, given the prevalence of excessive and arbitrary arrests

      Withdrawal of the Extradition Law Amendment Bill (pending Legislative Council resumption in October 2019)

  4. Adam Silver should hang his head in shame. This of course, assumes he can actually perceive a sense of shame. Adam Silver has cast aside any moral scruples and made himself a whore for Red Chinese money. It is that simple.

    And the players who willingly go along with this charade are all alike; morally bankrupt money whores.

    1. Why stop at the NBA?

      Do you shop at Walmart or Target?

      Something like 60 – 90 % of their products are made in China.

      I recall reading something like 90% of the toys in the US are made in China and around 60 – 70% of the shoes.

      The Chinese own a lot of U.S. debt — $1.123 trillion as of December 2018: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/080615/china-owns-us-debt-how-much.asp

      But yeah, let’s only bash the NBA.

      1. You are right. We should freeze that debt and impose a complete trade embargo with China.

        1. Sure. What use have we for a functioning economy?

          1. “What use have we for a functioning economy?”

            Trade with China is about 8% of our GDP. Not fatal. We have plenty of toys, heck my daughter can supply a couple dozen families herself.

            1. “Trade with China is about 8% of our GDP. Not fatal.”

              When the Chinese aren’t taking their trade surplus and investing it in our government, who will be?

              Let me guess… your daughter will be happy to pick up the slack?

              1. “When the Chinese aren’t taking their trade surplus and investing it in our government, who will be?”

                They won’t have a “trade surplus” anymore,

                The Fed can just quanitative ease some more.

        2. Now I see why you’re a Trump support.

          Let’s just renege/ignore our debts and debtors, which and who we willingly accepted.

          That’s not how things are done in the grown-up world.

          1. We freeze foreign assets all the time. Yet people still buy our debt and invest.

            The Federal Reserve holds twice the debt as China. It can just buy more. Didn’t you support “quanitative easing” before Trump?

            1. “Yet people still buy our debt and invest.”

              Specifically, the Chinese people do.

              1. Its 5%. Japan is nearly as much, about 4%.

                If you lost 5% of your income, would it mean death or just belt tightening?

                1. Among foreign governments, China is the largest holder of US federal government dept.

                  However, the single biggest holder of US federal debt is the US government itself. around half (give or take a few %) of the US national debt is held by the Federal Reserve and other intragovernmental accounts such as the SS trust fund.

        3. “You are right. We should freeze that debt and impose a complete trade embargo with China.”

          Just stop borrowing money. The trade surplus will take care of itself.

      2. “Why stop at the NBA?
        Do you shop at Walmart or Target?
        Something like 60 – 90 % of their products are made in China.”

        Because there’s a difference between buying from a low cost supplier, and bending your ethics to gain acceptance into a country’s market.

        Because if China told Walmart “If you want to buy from us, you’d better not criticize us…or else…” Walmart would look at that, look at the potential threat to its supply chain, and change suppliers to a more reliable supply chain. Not unlike what’s happening now, with the China tariffs, and companies moving their supply chains out of China.

        Walmart only buys from China, because it’s a low cost, relatively dependable supplier. The second China stops being such, they’ll switch to the next supplier in an instant.

      3. For better or for worse, the elected leaders in the west have chosen a policy of economic engagement with China, so companies opening up shop there are ok and doing the desired policy of said elected officials.

        That’s a far cry from exporting censorship, and tring to wear a halo for it, like its virtual signalling from Evil Lebron in the Mirror Universe.

    2. “Adam Silver should hang his head in shame. This of course, assumes he can actually perceive a sense of shame. Adam Silver has cast aside any moral scruples and made himself a whore for Red Chinese money. It is that simple.”

      That bastard capitalist. Trying to make money by running a business.

      1. Hey Pollock, I have no issue with the NBA wanting to make money. I want them to make lots of money. Capitalism works.

        That said, the virtue-signaling and hypocrisy of Adam Silver and NBA players is truly something to behold. The term – a whore for Red Chinese money – fits them perfectly. If the NBA wants to pimp themselves out to the highest bidder, they are free to do so. Just as I am free to call them out for it.

        1. Artie Ray Lee Wayne Jim-Bob Kirkland asked me to thank you for mentioning hypocrisy in the context of a blog that engages in hushed, partisan, viewpoint-discriminatory censorship, then loudly faults censors in other contexts.

        2. Hey, A_S.

          I guess from your name that you are a fan of Milton Friedman. Remember that he said business has no social responsibility other than making money.

          And I wonder what Ms. Rand herself would have thought about this.

          I mean, I agree that the NBA shouldn’t be sucking up to China here, but I’m surprised so many libertarian, Randist, etc. think so.

          1. You must have missed the NBA’s proud woke stands on various far-left causes here in the US.

            1. Why do you say that?

          2. Rand would have said not to sell put your morals to the highest bidder. But you obviously have no idea what her beliefs actually were, so go with your ignorance.

            1. “Rand would have said not to sell put your morals to the highest bidder”

              Selling out to the lower bidders is bad business.

          3. Bernard….I am a fan of Friedman. I thought his writings that discussed a negative income tax pointed to a way to address our bloated bureaucratic state.

            Here is where the difference lies: Are the actions of the NBA consistent with honesty, transparency, a free exchange of value for value based upon agreed upon rules? The answer in this case is No.

            The hypocrisy is what I find particularly grating.

        3. ” The term – a whore for Red Chinese money – fits them perfectly.”

          Yeah, those bastards will do whatever it takes to make a buck. Darn capitalists. And they won’t even STAY bought.

      2. Trading blow jobs for 40’s is capitalism too. Doesn’t make it acceptable

  5. When Britain decided to give Hong Kong back to China, they announced their intention to do so several years before doing so. People in Hong Kong remained in Hong Kong despite knowing it was going to come under the authority of the PRC. They made their choice. As it is, they get more freedom than the rest of the PRC does.

    1. That argument may work for everyone who was old enough to leave by 1997, but what about, you know, everyone under the age of 40?

      1. What about ’em? Until the protests shut down the airport, it had international flights.

        1. Ohhhhh. Love it or leave it.
          What a concept I never thought of it that way. Sheds all new light on on the civil rights riots. They should have just left.
          Why make things better?

          1. They chose what they chose. I didn’t choose it for them. Fixing their problem(s) is not my responsibility today.

            If, tomorrow morning, President Trump announced that he was giving Iowa back to the Indians, and you decided to stay in Iowa even though you are not an Indian, would it be my job to rescue you, should the new tribal government turn out to be holding a grudge or two about how the tribes were treated while their lands were occupied by foreign invaders?

    2. They made the choice with the understanding that China wouldn’t do anything to them for 50 years, as was written into the constitution. That agreement has obviously been broken repeatedly by China.

      1. Gosh, China represses people under its power? Why didn’t anyone say so until now?

        1. I love President Trump.
          There is not another person ever that can get people to defend the worst of the world. China has murdered millions of its own citizens, and all the leftist can do is shrug.

          1. “all the leftist can do is shrug.”

            Let me guess… anyone who disagrees with you about anything is “leftist”, regardless of the positions they actually advance, right?

            Fixing China is not my problem, nor even vaguely within my power to accomplish. If that says “shrug” to you, so be it.

        2. The protests are their way of saying something about it, you fucking idiot.

          1. Learn to fucking read before you fucking comment. Doing so will help you avoid saying stupid things.

    3. That ignores the terms of the deal which guaranteed Hong Kongers with their civil rights until 2050.

      Unless of course you are saying no rational person would trust the guarantee of a communist regime to respect civil rights, then I’ll have to concede your point.

      1. What communist regime ever broke its promise to respect civil rights?

    4. ” People in Hong Kong remained in Hong Kong despite knowing it was going to come under the authority of the PRC.”

      Yup. And black people in the Jim Crow south stayed there after emancipation, despite knowing that white people there were racist. If black people didn’t want to get lynched, why’d they stay in the south, amirite?

      1. “black people in the Jim Crow south stayed there after emancipation, despite knowing that white people there were racist. ”

        Sure, except for the ones who left the sourth, and discovered that there were plenty of racist white folks up in the north, too.

  6. Once upon a time, the United States took the best and brightest engineering students and science students from around the world, brought them here, educated them in American universities, and then put them to work building American industry.
    Then, some nativists starting complaining about all the foreigners taking slots in American universities and American businesses and demanded that we restrict how many of them could come here, and we actually started to do that.
    So the best engineering students and science students stayed in their own countries, and built industry there, where it now competes with ours.
    That’ll teach those dirty foreigners they can’t compete with American ingenuity and work ethic. Er, unless they can, I guess.

    1. You’re not describing China. What the Democrats didn’t sell to them, they stole.

      1. Yes, China. That big country on the east end of Asia. That one. (India, too.)

    2. So the best engineering students and science students stayed in their own countries, and built industry there, where it now competes with ours.

      Your understanding of world economics is amusing.

      1. Your lack thereof isn’t.

      2. I don’t always agree with James Pollock, but on this he’s full-on correct. Our hostility to China has been so broad-spectrum that we’ve ceded being the best place to do research worldwide, and America’s research leadership is now under threat in multiple areas, largely by China.

        1. “we’ve ceded being the best place to do research ”

          Why is a dictatorship without political or civil rights a “best place”?

          1. You aren’t supposed to ask how a dictatorial regime where free speech is verboten is the best place to do any research. It, apparently, just is. Cause…FYTW

              1. The authors of this op-ed:


                Dr. Emanuel is vice provost for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Gadsden is executive director of Penn China Initiatives. Dr. Moore is director of the Penn Global China Program.

                Come on, be a little more skeptical.

                1. Ad hominem is all you got?
                  Do you think the facts he brings are lies?

                  1. Do you think the facts he brings are lies?

                    Considering the source, I’d say the ‘facts’ they cite probably lack a lot of context. This observation is based on past behavior.

                    1. Then engage the facts and bring in the context.

                  2. It’s an opinion piece. There is no world court of scientific research that countries cede control to each other on. It’s fluff. The facts are what they are, but they certainly don’t prove that the US “surrendered to China” on anything. The “[a]d hominem” here is not to discount the facts, but to discount the hyperbole.

          2. They’re not the best; we’re just no longer the magnet we once were due to are paranoid stance about immigration generally and former Chinese nationals in particular.

            1. No longer the best place for Chinese is what you mean.

              Fair enough.

              “paranoid stance about …former Chinese nationals in particular”

              Even paranoids have enemies.

              https://newrepublic.com/article/150476/american-elite-universities-selfcensorship-china

              Are the things described in that article not troubling to you?

              1. What does that have to do with scientists doing research?

                Do you think we should settle for not the best people out of fears of China’s global reach making people scared to talk about China?

            2. Chinese students are still the largest foreign cohort, over 1/3 of the total. We are still the only real magnet in the world but it’s inevitable that countries like China will develop domestic intellectual resources as their economy grows. It has nothing to do with your imagined widespread nativism.

              1. Advocating that we rest on our laurels is a horrible idea.

                It’s not just that China is increasing it’s research share, it’s that ours is decreasing.

                This is not inevitable. Talk to a foreign-born scientist about the BS they need to put up with here.

                1. I don’t know any so why don’t you tell us about the BS?

                  1. Having to deal with two separate return dats / one from the visa and one from cbp
                    Having to lie to avoid having dual intent
                    Having your spouse and children being forbidden from working
                    Having to return to your country for two years before you can continue your studies once your graduate studies are done
                    Not being able to leave the country once you apply for a green card because that’s proof of intent to stay in the country and thus forbidden
                    Being unable to start a business because that doesn’t count as employed for visa purposes

                    Off the top of my head.

                    1. And that is different from what country anywhere? How is it for foreigners working in China?

                    2. From foreign students/profs I talk to, these irrationalities do not apply to the EU or India.

                      And these are the ones that still chose to come to the US.

                      Besides, your blithe dismissal as probably fine makes no sense. These are bad policies. This is not some cost-benefit. This Kafka-esque legal maze is just the price you pay for not being flooded with…smart students who want to do science here?

                    3. My son-in-law worked in France for five years and I can assure you that whatever hassles people working here experience they pale in comparison.

                    4. France’s immigration laws are governed under the EU, so I don’t think you’re right. The EU doesn’t have the dual intent and 2-year return policies, at the very least.

        2. So if we didn’t have this “broad spectrum” hostility to China, which I take it to mean that we object to them stealing our intellectual property among other things, then we could go back to being the “best place to do research?” It’s hard to rank the nonsense that you spout but that has to be right up there.

          1. If our reaction is to institute policies that make it unappealing for smart foreign researchers to come here and (more importantly) stay here, then regardless of China’s sins, we’re screwing the pooch.

            1. You realize Americans can be smart too.

              1. If we limited our academic researchers to only Americans, or only allies, we would be making a seismic contraction in our research enterprise.

                It’s been like that for a while

                1. We took in Europe’s best scientists after Germany shooed them out in the 30’s. How’d that work out for us?

                  We invested in education after the war. That worked out pretty well for us, too.

                  How well is telling them “nah, stay home, and develop new technologies and industry there. We’ll come get it” going to work out for us?

                  1. Nobody is telling them to stay home. That is just in your head. There is no proof of that whatsoever. But you have Sarcastro believing it that’s something I suppose.

                    1. You know nothing about immigration law.

                      We tell people to stay home regularly.

                    2. That is one of the dumber things you have said in a long time, and that’s saying something. Over a million foreign students a year, we basically just shut the door on people coming in.

                    3. Not on everyone, but we do shut the door on people by making it much harder than it needs to be. That sends a message.

                      And that doesn’t count all the chuckleheads who think every foreign student is a potential agent of their government. Way to make a welcoming atmosphere.

                      We’re leaving good talent and high-skilled future Americans on the floor for others to pick up.

                      I’ve talked to people who work in the area and some who have had to deal with the system. You, on the other hand, don’t seem to be bringing much except not much liking immigration.

                    4. “Nobody is telling them to stay home. That is just in your head. There is no proof of that whatsoever.”

                      Boy, you sure showed me by citing all those facts. What was I thinking, believing all those people who say they want to sharply reduce immigration, particularly among tech professions like scientists and engineers, because the durn furriners are competing with Americans, and beating them at getting American jobs.

                2. That study was published in 1984 so either you didn’t know that or you think we have been nativists since then, even through the Clinton and Obama years.

                  1. read my comment. I chose that study to show how long our research enterprise has been reliant on foreign talent.

            2. Well we haven’t done that so I guess we’re okay. And I’m not sure what you mean by “foreign researchers.” Are you talking about employees or students? In any case it doesn’t matter because we continue to increase the number of H-1B visas and the number of foreign students continues to grow.

              1. “Are you talking about employees or students?”

                I was talking about both. Ever notice how there’s a lot of industry around good engineering schools?

    3. Foreign student enrollment in US colleges and universities has increased every year since 1949. In the last three years enrollment exceeded one million foreign students. The rate of growth has slowed but that is mainly due to soaring costs in the US.

      So I guess the nativists in your head has been doing a better job of keeping the foreigners out than the ones in the real world.

      1. “Foreign student enrollment in US colleges and universities has increased every year since 1949.”

        By an amazing coincidence, so has every other population metric. Almost like people keep having babies.

      2. As noted, that’s an awful metric unless normalized. And when you do normalize it, our share of foreign student enrollment has dropped recently. Started, oh, about 2017.

        Also, an important point: foreign students/post-docs/professors are only foreign temporarily. These are usually not economic refugees; they are high skilled and in demand. They have freedom of movement and came here as a choice; they are generally looking to become American citizens.

        1. The only reason for any rate drop is the ridiculous rise in education costs here, mainly due to administrator bloat. That and China in particular has developed some good schools. Still Chinese student enrollment has only dropped 1.5% in the last few years, so basically a trivial drop. Has zip to do with imagined nativism.

          1. Grad students in many sciences are financed by grants and don’t pay tuition cost.

          2. And normalize your percentage somehow. With population growth, and our flagging publication/cited publication rate, your dismissal looks pretty silly.

            1. 390,000 to 384,000. Oh the humanity!

              1. Oh, ffs.
                Are you bad at statistics, or trying to deceive people?

                1. That represents the rate drop of 1.5% of Chinese students here between 2016 and 2018. I gave you the raw numbers. That doesn’t indicate that we are excluding “furriners” as Pollock likes to say. Neither of you has been able to show that the very slight reduction in enrollment is based on anti-immigrant sentiment. Pollock basically does a poor version of Arthur, and while you do a better job of supporting your view I still think it quite insufficient.

        2. I don’t think James’s point was that China began competing with the US in “about 2017”.

          1. Well I’m not sure Pollock has a point other than his imagination but I certainly never said that so I’m not sure what your point is.

            1. I wasn’t responding to you.

          2. Sure – and I would agree with him we’ve been dumb in this area for a while, but then the conversation went to donojack who thinks everything is going great, so I picked the starkest example.

            Though his best info is his son-in-law having a hard time in France.

            1. They had a great time in France and made a ton of money, but there was a lot of bureaucratic red tape. My whole point was, so what? It’s not that big a deal, and it certainly doesn’t seem to be discouraging people from coming to the US.

    4. Electronics. Majority built off shore. We might be getting some of that production back. But why do we desire the electronics? Content. Who is creating content?
      You can educate engineers and Doctors. But where does innovation come from? Free societies

      1. Dunno what that says about America if we’re getting overtaking by China in the innovation space.

        1. Numbers of published papers don’t tell us anything about real innovation. The Chicoms decreed that R&D would be 2.5% of GDP so there have to be some papers to show for all that extra spending.
          Do you seriously think that the quality of scientific research in China is equivalent to the US? Let’s see what great things they come up with. Maybe it will be as impressive as the accomplishments of the Soviet Union.

          1. Agree about that, but more robust metrics like Fractional Count or H-Value are also not looking good.

            Do a bit of Googling around. China overtaking us in the basic research space is not some out-there notion. By denying it, you’re the outlier.

            https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2019/01/12/can-china-become-a-scientific-superpower.

          2. Quality varies from area to area. We beat China in some areas, and not in others. Certainly China is getting a better bang for it’s buck at the moment (though they thusfar spend less bucks in absolute terms).

            I’d also like to think that a free society and market are a fuel that makes for a level of innovation that a closed society cannot match. I don’t think it’s borne out by the numbers.

            1. I’d also like to think that a free society and market are a fuel that makes for a level of innovation that a closed society cannot match. I don’t think it’s borne out by the numbers.

              We’ll see I guess. Replacing market forces with fiat as in the five year plans has not worked very well so far, but China is not as closed a society as it once was nor as the Soviet Union was so they will do better the more capitalist they are and the less communist.

              1. We’ll see I guess

                No, that’s not how you make good policy.

                1. Why do you thing R&D decisions, mostly by private companies should be “policy?” That’s what the commies do.

  7. I keep wondering, what percentage of the NBA’s total revenue comes from China. I can’t believe it’s really that huge, even if there’s some TV, an occasional exhibition game, and a little bit of royalties off shoe sales. Yes, the NBA might be dreaming that in decades to come if will be heewdge… but today

    1. According to Forbes, NBA revenue is $8 billion and according to USA Today last week it is $500 million from China.

  8. If the NBA’s choice to cater to their Chinese customers offends you, don’t buy their products.

    1. Already done. I just LOVE watching hypocrites getting speared so thoroughly as they are.

      Cord-cutting is going to DEVASTATE the NBA. And that makes me feel all warm inside.

      1. Bragging about enjoying the misery of others? No, no, nothing psychotic happening here…

        1. The misery of Lebron James, hmm. Enjoying that? Nothing short of psychotic.

  9. Why stop at the NBA?
    Do you shop at Walmart or Target?
    Something like 60 – 90 % of their products are made in China.”

    Because there’s a difference between buying from a low cost supplier, and bending your ethics to gain acceptance into a country’s market.

    Because if China told Walmart https://walmartone.onl “If you want to buy from us, you’d better not criticize us…or else…” Walmart would look at that, look at the potential threat to its supply chain, and change suppliers to a more reliable supply chain. Not unlike what’s happening now, with the China tariffs, and companies moving their supply chains out of China.

    Walmart only buys from China, because it’s a low cost, relatively dependable supplier. The second China stops being such, they’ll switch to the next supplier in an instant.

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