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Chinese media compare Hong Kong protests to 9/11

A major Chinese tabloid is defending internet users in the country who have praised the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S. amid Chinese outcry about an NBA executive expressing support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

The story: Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted this weekend “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” The tweet triggered the Chinese government which called on the NBA to silence Morey and that is exactly what they did.

Morey issued an apology while the NBA acknowledged in a statement that his remarks “deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver defended Morey, saying he “is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression,” adding that while Morey’s remarks would likely cause the league financial troubles, “if those are the consequences of us adhering to our values, I still feel it’s very, very important to adhere to those values.”

Morey has since deleted his tweet.

Even though Twitter is banned in China, the social media company has caught the authoritarian Chinese government using fake accounts to spread propaganda, including praising the Sept. 11 attacks.

Comments celebrating the terrorist attacks have also been found on the Chinese government-run social media platform Sina Weibo, as reported by Breitbart.

The Chinese state-run newspaper Global Times confirmed and justified the comments, arguing the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests were just as bad as 9/11.

“A few angry Chinese netizens said, ‘9/11 is a beautiful date for the US. After all, freedom of speech,’” the Global Times reported. “This has been exaggerated by some US media and Twitter users to hype the tension between the NBA and China.”

“Chinese observers said these extreme comments are inappropriate and disrespectful, which the majority of Chinese people don’t agree with, but it should remind Western media that for Chinese people, the Hong Kong riots are just like the 9/11, which is horrible and can’t be justified,” the newspaper said. “So when a few of them see a foreigner use ‘freedom of expression’ to justify the statement that seriously harmed their feelings, they decided to make disrespectful comments as well in the name of “freedom of expression.’”

“Chinese netizens vowed to draw a clear line with the NBA after league Commissioner Adam Silver defended Morey, who showed solidarity with Hong Kong rioters in his tweet,” the Global Times said.

The 9/11 attacks claimed the lives of 2,977 in New York, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania, which is less than the total deaths the U.S. sustained during the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II.

So far no deaths have been reported in the Hong-Kong protests, which started in June this year.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang has also responded to the NBA controversy

“The Chinese Basketball Association and the Chinese cooperation partners to the Houston Rockets made statements on this matter. I believe China’s position on it couldn’t be clearer,” Shuang said. “I also suggest you pay attention to the reaction of the ordinary Chinese people.”