Ted Cruz Speaks Up to Support 'South Park,' Ding NBA

'South Park' Has Apparently Been Banned in China Thanks to Its Most Recent Episode; Trey Parker and Matt Stone Respond

"And we should always have freedom of speech".

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets play exhibitions on Thursday in Shanghai and on Saturday in the southern city of Shenzhen, which neighbours Hong Kong. Basketball is wildly popular in China and those two teams - largely because of LeBron James starring for the Lakers and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba's co-founder Joe Tsai now owning the Nets - nearly certainly would have been a huge television draw.

Morey deleted his pro-Hong Kong statement and has not repeated his support for the anti-communist protests since receiving Silver's backing. "We believe that any speech that challenges national sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech". "My hope is that for our Chinese fans and our partners in China that they will see those remarks in the context of now a three-decade or longer relationship".

"I think it's unfortunate", he said. "I don't think it's inconsistent on one hand to be sympathetic to them and at the same time stand by our principles".

Silver said the league didn't expect CCTV to take such measures but added it does not change the NBA's position.

"I was once working from someone from Hong Kong, and we went to mainland China, and the person insisted upon washing the dishes in a restaurant ... on the grounds that they [believed] that the people in mainland China were incapable of washing dishes correctly", he said.

Parker and Stone were referencing a tweet by Houston Rockets' general manager Daryl Morey that led to all Rockets' related products being removed from China's largest online store, Taobao, on October 7.

The phrase is a popular slogan at the protests in Hong Kong that have raged for months.

But league commissioner Adam Silver, speaking Tuesday in Japan before a preseason game between the Rockets and Toronto Raptors, said it was not up to the league to regulate what players, employees and team owners said. Last week, the show aired an episode, "Band in China", which mocked the Chinese government for its constant attempts to censor criticism and the American entertainment industry for its willingness to assist in those censorship efforts as long as the profits continue to roll in.

Yao is a former Houston Rockets great and a basketball Hall of Famer.

"But I'm a realist as well, and I recognise that this issue may not die down so quickly", he said.

"But he is extremely hot at the moment, and I understand it". The Lakers were arriving there Tuesday.

Early NBA statements on the issue drew fire from U.S. critics as overly capitulating, setting the stage for Silver to settle matters in Tokyo. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said Tuesday.

The backlash intensified in the wake of Mr Silver's statement, as multiple Chinese companies such as sportswear brand Anta and dairy company Mengniu responded by suspending partnerships with the league.

"Imagine that. Can you imagine a black person in the United States [saying] 'I may look black, but I'm not really black?'" he asked rhetorically, before using black people as another "what if" scenario with his dishes example.

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