Recent events between the Houston Rockets and China illustrate China’s “weaponizing” of U.S.-based companies against America, warned Gordon Chang, Daily Beast columnist and author of The Coming Collapse of China, in a Monday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with hosts Rebecca Mansour and Joel Pollak.
Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey expressed support via Twitter for demonstrators in Hong Kong calling for democracy and independence from China. He tweeted, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”
Morey subsequently deleted his tweet and issued an apology after the Chinese Basketball Association’s suspension of business dealings with the Houston Rockets. The National Basketball Association (NBA), headed by Adam Silver, also acquiesced to Chinese state pressure.
Breitbart News highlighted the Houston Rockets’ business interest in China:
The NBA in general and the Rockets in particular, have several highly lucrative business arrangements. The communist country is a fast-growing NBA market and the Rockets, thanks largely to Yao Ming’s career in Houston, are one of the most popular teams in the world’s most populous nation.
“With respect to the Houston Rockets … what’s going on there is they are now weaponizing our companies against us,” said Chang of China’s political influence over U.S.-based companies.
Chang added, “The Houston Rockets, what they did was despicable, but you can’t expect the Houston Rockets to stand up to the Communist Party of China, so this type of thing was inevitable, and it’s occurred, of course, with Marriott some of the other hotel chains, and of course, with Hollywood.”
“But the real story here is not that business executives are craven,” continued Chang. “The story here is that Beijing is weaponizing companies, that they are demanding obedience, and they are demanding that American companies — and we’re going to see this pretty soon — implement Communist Party politics to undermine American policy.”
Chang stated, “We can’t have two things at the same time. We can’t have businesses in China, and we can’t have a free marketplace of ideas in the United States. You can have one, but you can’t have both at the same time, and because we need to protect our democracy, I think we need to get our companies out of China.”
Chang remarked, “Yes it does make us less efficient, but nonetheless, You can’t compare efficiency against national survival.”
Chang commented on the status of ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
“Effectively, there’s martial law in Hong Kong, right now,” said Chang. “The police are acting in an unrestricted fashion. They can do what they want. For instance, my friend, the war correspondent Michael Yong, reports that the police will routinely board buses and check identification papers, [and] take off people they don’t like. So essentially, the police are running Hong Kong, right now.”
“We know that Hong Kong people are acting in defiance,” noted Chang. “On Friday, Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong chief executive, issued an emergency order that people were no longer allowed to wear masks in public, and we saw on Sunday, a lot of people — not just the young people dressed in black who normally have riot gear on — but also the middle class, the mass of Hong Kong people, they went out in public with masks on.”
Chang went on, “[These were] 74-year-old grannies who were doing this in a show of defiance, so Hong Kong, right now, is certainly not under the control of Carrie Lam, but the Hong Kong police are trying to establish some sort of foothold of control.”
“The one thing that Xi Jinping is most afraid of is contagion,” estimated Chang. “He knows that people in the mainland don’t sympathize with the Hong Kong protesters or with Hong Kong people, in general, but he is worried that people will be inspired by their actions. You’ve got to remember that the people in Hong Kong have pushed Carrie Lam around. They got her to permanently withdraw the extradition bill which triggered these protests in April, and people in the mainland have their own grievances.”
Chang concluded, “I’m sure that Xi Jinping is really deathly concerned that there will be protests throughout the mainland.”
Breitbart News Tonight airs Monday through Friday on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel 125 from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Eastern (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Pacific).
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.