WASHINGTON -- Rev. Patrick Mahoney and Rev. Kris Keating were calling for the NBA to publicly condemn the horrific human rights and civil liberty abuses by the Chinese government who continue to brutalize their own people and trample freedom in Hong Kong.
The ministers were detained by local police and Disney security at the checkpoint surrounding "The Bubble" at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports.
They were given a citation for trespassing by law enforcement and then told by Walt Disney officials, "Because of your protest, you are now banned from every Disney property worldwide for life."
It is unconscionable the NBA had training at a facility in Xingjiang. This is the province where Chinese authorities brutalized, imprisoned and tortured over one million Uighur Muslims.
The Chinese Communist Party recently passed a national security law in Hong Kong which will imprison those seeking democracy and freedom as well as bulldozing churches and persecuting Christians, jailing Falun Gong practitioners, crushing political dissidents, restricting freedom of the press and denying civil liberties. Yet not one NBA player or owner has publicly condemned the Chinese government for these abuses.
Rev. Kris Keating, President of Bright Mercy Ministries, comments;
"I felt it important to demonstrate at the NBA playoffs in Orlando, Florida because the NBA has failed to denounce China's human rights abuses in China and in Hong Kong. Disney and the NBA are profiting from the cooperation with the Chinese government without regard or acknowledgement of the abuses that government continues to perpetuate against Hong Kong and ethnic minorities - including the Uighur people. The leadership and athletes of the NBA are in an important position to make a stand for the protection of basic human rights by openly denouncing China's treatment of vulnerable people"
Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington DC and a longtime outspoken advocate for human rights in China and Hong Kong, states;
"It is unconscionable the NBA, at one time, had a facility in Xingjiang where Chinese authorities have brutalized, imprisoned and tortured over one million Uighur Muslims. It is disgraceful the NBA continues their business and corporate ties with the Communist Party of China who continually trample human rights and freedom for their own people.
"Last year Houston Rocket General Manager, Daryl Morey, sent out a tweet saying, 'Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.' The Chinese government put pressure on the NBA causing them to issue a statement saying Morey's comments were 'regrettable.' Basketball superstar, LeBron James, criticized Morey's tweet and said he was 'not educated on the situation.'
"Sadly, the NBA never once said the Chinese government brutalizing the people of Hong Kong and crushing freedom and democracy were 'regrettable.' The only thing 'regrettable' about Morey's tweet, was the cowardice of NBA officials publicly refusing to speak out on human rights abuses in Hong Kong. My recommendation for LeBron James is for him to talk with the heroic democracy protesters of Hong Kong and listen to their stories of persecution and violence so he can become 'educated on the situation.'
"We call upon the NBA to publicly condemn the human rights abuses by the Chinese government and commit to work as passionately for social justice in China as they are working for it here in America. It is difficult to take the NBA's commitment to justice seriously when they only show moral outrage on issues that are safe for them. I pray the NBA takes to heart the words of Dr. Martin Luther King when he said, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.'"
SOURCE Christian Defense Coalition