In this Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, photo, Brooklyn Nets' Theo Pinson, left, drives against Los Angeles Lakers' Danny Green, right, near a Chinese national flag during a preseason NBA game at the Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai, China. When Houston Rocket's general manager Daryl Morey tweeted last week in support of anti-government protests in Hong Kong, everything changed for NBA fans in China. A new chant flooded Chinese sports forums: "I can live without basketball, but I can't live without my motherland." (AP Photo, File)

Nationalism over NBA fandom: Fans support 'motherland' China

October 11, 2019 - 10:10 pm

BEIJING (AP) — The patriotic fervor buoyed by Chinese companies suspending their NBA partnerships followed a celebration marking 70 years of Communist Party rule in China.

President Xi Jinping has rallied the populace around the promise of a Chinese Dream and national rejuvenation. It is a vision increasingly trumpeted by ordinary Chinese who have found solidarity amid a protracted trade war and Hong Kong democracy movement, crises that the government has portrayed as deliberate bids to contain China's inevitable development.

After the NBA commissioner said he supported the Houston Rockets general manager's right to free speech over a tweet backing anti-government protests in Hong Kong, online nationalists set their targets on the league.

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