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Warriors denounce part-owner for apathy toward Uyghur genocide in China

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Chamath Palihapitiya, a part-owner of the Warriors, recently said on a podcast that “nobody cares” about the Uyghur genocide in China.

In December, an independent tribunal found China guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity in the Xinjiang Province — where the Uyghur people and other predominately Muslim communities live. The report detailed China’s abuse of human rights in the region, including rape, enforced sterilization, torture, imprisonment, persecution, deportation and enforced disappearance. China has denied all allegations.

China’s policies have imprisoned over 1 million Muslims since 2014 in internment camps without legal processes, according to the United Nations; it’s the largest scale detention of ethnic and religious minorities since World War II.

“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay,” Palihapitiya said during an appearance on the All-In podcast. “You bring it up because you care and I think it’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care. I’m just telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line.”

Palihapitiya bought a 10% stake in the Warriors from Joe Lacob in 2011, he said in a Twitter thread last year. He was an original member of Facebook’s senior management team and is now the founder and SEO of Social Capital, a venture capital fund whose stated mission is “to advance humanity by solving the world’s hardest problems.”

In response to Palihapitiya’s comments, the Warriors released a statement denouncing the part-owner.

“As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization,” the team said.

The NBA and China have a business relationship that’s been complicated in recent years by comments — or lack thereof — in regards to their alleged human rights violations. Many NBA players, including LeBron James, have been outspoken about fighting for human rights and racial justice in America, but have been criticized for ignoring China. Prominent executive Daryl Morey, meanwhile, tweeted his support for anti-genocide protestors and was forced to apologize after China suspended its cooperation with the Houston Rockets franchise.

Enes Freedom, a backup center for the Boston Celtics, has been an outspoken critic of the Chinese government and authoritarian regimes abroad. In a tweet, Freedom compared Palihapitiya to Donald Sterling and urged the NBA to oust the owner from his position.

 

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