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China is refuting NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s claim that it demanded the firing of Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey over a tweet that supported anti-government protests in Hong Kong.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says the “Chinese government never posed this requirement.”
During an appearance in New York on Thursday, Silver said the NBA was “being asked to fire (Morey) by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with, government and business.”
Several Chinese companies, including the Chinese Basketball Association and state broadcaster CCTV, suspended engagement with the NBA after Morey’s tweet.
The league and the Lakers’ LeBron James, one of its biggest stars, have been heavily criticized by some U.S. lawmakers for the perception that they caved to the Chinese regime.