Context’s Christine Yoo spoke with Mimi Lee, spokesperson for the Torontonian Hong Kongers Action Group, one week after her group handed out the t-shirts to fans. Mimi Lee says the larger issues happening in Hong Kong are freedom of speech, the Christian influence in the protests, and whether peace is possible after so much civil unrest.
Opening night for the Toronto Raptors saw 7,000 people receiving t-shirts reading “The North Stands with Hong Kong.”
The Torontonian Hong Kongers Action Group were outside the game handing out the free t-shirts to raise awareness for protests in Hong Kong. It’s the same tactic first used at the LA Lakers opening night.
The NBA has become embroiled in the Hong Kong controversy after Houston Rockets’ General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for the protesters. This lead the Chinese state broadcaster to cancel pre-season games and sponsors to drop out in dispute over comments about Hong Kong.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver tried to save the deal, issuing a statement that said, “we have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.” Silver later clarified, the league stood for free speech and would not regulate what players, employees, or team owners can say.
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