Under the new Chinese “law on sports, the authorities reserved the right to strike back at any country, region or organization involved in global sports that’s perceived as insulting China’s dignity and interests.”
China has revised its sports law, making it easier for the Communist regime to stifle free speech for foreign teams such as those belonging to the NBA or England’s Premier League soccer, media reports say.
The new regulations will allow Beijing to more effectively censor sporting events that place the regime in an unfavorable light or in any way displease the country’s ruling Communist Party (CCP).
Under the revised Chinese “law on sports, the authorities reserved the right to strike back at any country, region or organization involved in global sports that’s perceived as insulting China’s dignity and interests,” Bloomberg News reported Monday. The bill was introduced after Hong Kong football fans booed the Chinese national anthem during last year’s matches.
These measures will further tighten freedom of speech for foreign sportsmen, officials, or sports leagues that earn huge revenues by tapping into the lucrative Chinese market.
Bloomberg reported the tightening of Chinese sports law:
At the end of a long-awaited revision to the country’s law on sports, the authorities reserved the right to strike back at any country, region or organization involved in global sports that’s perceived as insulting China’s dignity and interests.
The provision’s timing is no accident. Over the last three years, the Chinese authorities have become increasingly unnerved by the rise of activism by overseas athletes, sports leagues and brands. Unlike other forms of entertainment, such as Hollywood movies, China can’t easily make censorship of football and soccer matches a habit.
So the authorities are betting that they can intimidate sporting interests with Chinese business ambitions to shut down the unfriendly activism altogether. It’s a gamble that should lead athletes, brands and leagues to recognize that their businesses are becoming fundamentally incompatible with China’s political climate. (…)
Beijing is betting it can intimidate sporting organizations with Chinese business ambitions to shut down criticism altogether — maybe even outside the country.
As Chinese sports fandom has grown, so too has interest in high-quality overseas leagues. China now provides the NBA and England’s Premier League football with some of their largest audiences and most devoted fan bases, despite a dearth of Chinese athletes in both. The Chinese authorities have been willing to tolerate that popularity in part because they aspire to be globally competitive in both sports, and shutting off access to the very best would be counterproductive.
The law is vague, allowing the Chinese authorities to go after individual sportsmen or teams that in any way displease the Communist regime. “There are no details on what constitutes an infringement of rights or dignity in revised law,” the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper reported on June 27.
The CCP’s rubberstamp parliament “National People’s Congress Standing Committee passed the revision to the Law on Physical Culture and Sports on Friday to allow for countermeasures if any country, region or organisation undermines the nation’s sovereignty, security, development interests or dignity in international sports events,” the Hong Kong daily noted.
Apart from cracking down on domestic dissent, the law will allow Beijing to go after international sports figures and teams that dare criticize the regime. Angering China’s Communist rulers could hit the bottom line of foreign sports leagues like the NBA, which earn huge revenues from broadcasting rights and the sale of merchandise.
Given its massive investment in the country, the U.S. basketball league is particularly vulnerable to Chinese pressure. “Forty principal owners in the NBA have more than a combined $10bn tied up in China,” British newspaper The Guardian reported recently.DONATE
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