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China’s CCTV suspends Houston Rockets broadcasts

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Agence France-Presse

Chinese broadcaster CCTV has said it will stop showing Houston Rockets games as the backlash in China grows over a tweet backing Hong Kong protests.

CCTV’s sports channel said in a statement on its Weibo channel Sunday night that it was “strongly opposed” to the “improper remarks” posted by the basketball team’s general manager Daryl Morey.

The Rockets have been in damage control mode since Morey posted a tweet Friday featuring the message “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong” that was subsequently deleted.

Hong Kong has been rocked by months of pro-democracy protests.

Sponsors including sportswear brand Li Ning and the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPD) announced Sunday they would stop cooperation with the team.

“We express our outrage and strongly condemn Houston rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s wrong remarks on his personal social media platform,” said Li Ning in a statement.

“The Li Ning company firmly opposes and resists all actions that harm national interests.”

Rockets sponsor SPD Credit Card Center said in a statement that it will suspend all marketing and publicity and that “the sovereignty of the motherland can not be challenged”.

It called for the Rockets to carry out a thorough investigation.