dear mr adam silver,
thank you for your statements. they are clear enough, but we believe that you could reflect some more on the issues involved.
over the last three decades, the nba has gained enormous influence in china, and through basketball we have seen how sports can bridge the cultural differences between china and the us.
we are glad that you recognize that our two countries have different political systems and beliefs. as an institution with global business and influence, that recognition helps the nba to deepen ties and promote understanding with different cultures.
but you still need a better understanding of china, a huge market for your organization. state sovereignty, national integrity, and national esteem, these are mainstream values in china, with largest consensus among all chinese people. they are also the core concepts recognized by the whole chinese nation.
in history, chinese civilization, like others, suffered from invasions and conquests from the outside, yet it is the only one that survived all the catastrophes. one of the most important reasons for this is the chinese people’s sense of unity. wherever a chinese person goes, in whichever country or region he/she resides, love and passion for the motherland ties us together.
those ties define the chinese nation. we are open to the world and willing to learn from other civilizations. we welcome people regardless of race or religious belief. the chinese nation is not based on blood, but on culture, on the recognition, love, and appreciation of our common home, china.
we respect freedom of speech, and we defend people’s rights to speak even though we do not agree with their viewpoints. however, as in the united states or any other western country, freedom of speech has its limitations; discrimination against the vulnerable, prejudice based on color, race, or religion, and the so-called “defense” of certain figures that committed anti-human deeds in history might all lead to trouble, even criminal charges.
for chinese, supporting those who seek to carve up the nation is also taboo. we respect these as the boundaries of freedom of speech in western societies, and we hope the west can also respect our boundaries.
basketball runs deep in the hearts and minds of our two peoples. at a time when the divides between nations are becoming deeper and wider, we hope sports can help to narrow these divides through mutual respect, instead of widening them via irresponsible words.
i recognize our initial statement left people angered, confused or unclear on who we are or what the nba stands for. let me be more clear.
over the last three decades, the nba has developed a great affinity for the people of china. we have seen how basketball can be an important form of people-to-people exchange that deepens ties between the united states and china.
at the same time, we recognize that our two countries have different political systems and beliefs. and like many global brands, we bring our business to places with different political systems around the world.
but for those who question our motivation, this is about far more than growing our business.
values of equality, respect and freedom of expression have long defined the nba — and will continue to do so. as an american-based basketball league operating globally, among our greatest contributions are these values of the game.
in fact, one of the enduring strengths of the nba is our diversity — of views, backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and religions. twenty-five percent of nba players were born outside of the united states and our colleagues work in league offices around the world, including in beijing, hong kong, shanghai and taipei.
with that diversity comes the belief that whatever our differences, we respect and value each other; and, what we have in common, including a belief in the power of sports to make a difference, remains our bedrock principle.
it is inevitable that people around the world — including from america and china — will have different viewpoints over different issues. it is not the role of the nba to adjudicate those differences.
however, the nba will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues. we simply could not operate that way.
basketball runs deep in the hearts and minds of our two peoples. at a time when divides between nations grow deeper and wider, we believe sports can be a unifying force that focuses on what we have in common as human beings rather than our differences.