The Scary Implication of Morey’s Twitter Incident

Boning (JZ) Zhang, Sports Co-Editor

Daryl Morey’s tweet showing support for Hong Kong has claimed headlines and turned the HK protest into a global issue. Both sides, in this issue, have a compelling rationale behind their stances. Chinese emphasis on territorial integrity is deeply rooted in its rather unfortunate modern history. Its territory has been invaded and taken. Naturally, the tendency to resist all kinds of sectionalism emerged. Western emphasis on freedom has its roots in the rise of Nazi Germany and many other countries after WWI, which willingly gave up their democracy. For the west, freedom and democracy are fragile plants in need of constant protection. For Daryl Morey to be criticized and economically harmed by his own speech is equivalent to trampling the idea of free speech, one of the West’s bottom lines.

Rarely has any conflict been able to touch upon the absolute principles of both sides, and this one did. For the Chinese, it is territorial integrity. For the West, it is freedom of speech. Therefore, this conflict presents us with a perfect opportunity to see the reality of a sharply divided world along the lines of ideology and culture, despite the relative peace we seem to enjoy. More gloomy than this reality is people’s reaction to it. So far, however, no side has shown an attempt to understand the rationale behind the other’s action, and instead regarded itself as totally righteous. Measures such as personal attacks were widely employed. Lebron James, after maintaining a neutral stance when asked about this issue, immediately receives thousands of negative comments from American fans, calling him a puppet of China.

By the same token, Chinese fans have attacked Morey personally and already began boycotting Rocket’s game. The combination of a tragedy and a blessing is how I characterize this issue: tragic because it continues to deepen the already severe division, a blessing because it reveals the level of seriousness of this issue, thus raising an alarm for the world. The “Us vs. Them” mentality has been spreading like a plague, which generates hatred and eventually, a tendency to dehumanize the other side. With dehumanization comes the real and vivid possibility of conflict on a much larger scale, which can come true if more uncompromising triggering events occur in the future.

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