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Hong Kong protest leader slams NBA star LeBron James for taking up black cause, but not anti-Beijing one

Hong Kong protest leader slams NBA star LeBron James for taking up black cause, but not anti-Beijing one
Joshua Wong, one of the public faces of Hong Kong’s ‘pro-democracy’ protest movement, has called US basketball player LeBron James a hypocrite, for being pro-BLM now, but expressing skepticism about Wong’s cause in the past.

James “only talks loud in the US. On China, not only is he silent, he actively shuts others up,” Wong tweeted on Thursday, calling the American pro-player “hypocritical.” 

He added several pictures depicting the Lakers forward as being pro-Communist and comparing him with Mao Zedong.

The attack comes over an article in the Los Angeles Times linked by Wong, which details James’ angry reaction to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and his subsequent effort to further the Black Lives Matter cause.

Wong, 23, is a student activist, who rose to international prominence in 2014 amid anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong. He was a leading figure when protests in the semi-autonomous Chinese city were reignited again last year, and even spoke on behalf of the activists before the US Congress as legislators were working on a law threatening China with sanctions.

James rubbed Hong Kong protesters up the wrong way after getting involved in the NBA-China row last October. Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey expressed his solidarity with their cause on Twitter, but later deleted the tweet, ostensibly fearing retaliation from Beijing. James weighed in on the situation, saying Morey was “either misinformed or not really educated on the situation” in Hong Kong.

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Amid the furor that ensued, James denied being pro-Chinese, contrary to what activists in Hong Kong said. He insisted he simply didn’t believe that “every issue should be everybody’s problem” and prefered to pick his fights closer to home.

The anti-government protests in Hong Kong restarted last month over Beijing’s plans to introduce a new national security law. The law is expected to make life much harder for the protesters, especially those using violent tactics to disrupt life in the city. The protesters call it Beijing’s latest infringement on Hong Kong’s autonomy.

The US has faced its own wave of public anger and disturbance over the past weeks, as tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest against police brutality and institutional racism in the country. The protest was triggered by an on-camera killing of Floyd, a black man, who died at the hands of police.

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