The owner of a top ten NBA team has ties to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China, according to an ESPN report Thursday.
Joe Tsai, the owner of the Brooklyn Nets, is also the executive vice chairman of Alibaba, a Chinese tech firm, with a significant financial stake in companies the U.S. government blacklisted for their role in supporting “a campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-tech surveillance,” according to the ESPN report.
State Rep. Justin Wilmeth (R-Phoenix) is sponsoring legislation to block state and other public entities in Arizona from contracting for services or products from companies that use forced labor from the ethnic Uyghurs in China. Under HB 2488, companies that do business with the state will be required to certify in writing that they do not use that labor.
“As a student of history, I know what happens when good people remain silent,” said Wilmeth. “The Chinese Communist Party keeping millions of people locked in internment camps, which harkens back to the darkest chapters of the 20th century. HB 2488 sends a strong message that the State of Arizona won’t do business with anyone that turns a blind eye to this horrible human rights abuse.”
On Tuesday, Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) reacted to a viral video making its rounds on social media showing the owner of an NBA team saying “nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs” in China.
In Xinjiang, located in western China, the Chinese Communist Party is aggressively working to eradicate the faith and culture of the Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minority communities.
On March 10, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio provided a written statement for a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom hearing entitled, “A Religious Minority Enslaved: Addressing the Complicity of U.S. Companies in Uyghur Forced Labor.” He wrote, “When a regime deprives a people of their right to practice their faith freely, they are depriving those people of their full humanity. They are cutting them off from the traditions that sustained their ancestors and defined who they are as a people. This is precisely why Beijing has targeted the Uyghurs.”