Former NBA star Dwight Howard sparks backlash in China after calling Taiwan a ‘country’

Former NBA star Dwight Howard sparks backlash in China after calling Taiwan a ‘country’
By Management
May 14

Former NBA star Dwight Howard sparks backlash in China after calling Taiwan a ‘country’

Former NBA star Dwight Howard is facing backlash in China after referring to Taiwan as a “country” during a press conference.

The incident occurred during Howard’s first press conference as a member of the Beijing Ducks, a Chinese Basketball Association team. When asked about his thoughts on Taiwan, Howard responded by saying “we’re in a country called China and Taiwan is a country”, which has prompted criticism from Chinese internet users.

China’s stance on Taiwan

The issue of Taiwan is a sensitive topic for the Chinese government and people. China considers Taiwan to be a part of its territory, while Taiwan views itself as a sovereign state. The two have been governed separately since the end of a civil war in 1949.

China has been known to take strong actions against individuals or companies that refer to Taiwan as a separate country, including banning them from doing business in China.

Howard’s comments have sparked outrage among Chinese netizens, with many accusing him of disrespecting China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Some have also called for the Beijing Ducks to terminate his contract.

Howard’s apology

Following the backlash, Howard released a statement on Chinese social media platform Weibo, apologizing for his comments and reaffirming that he respects and adheres to China’s stance on Taiwan.

“I apologize for my words, they were taken out of context during a long panel discussion,” Howard said. “I have a deep respect for China and its people and I am committed to ensuring that my experiences in China are positive and rewarding.”

Despite his apology, some Chinese netizens remain unconvinced and have called for further action against Howard.

NBA’s history with China

This incident comes at a time when relations between the NBA and China are already strained. Last year, Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters, sparking a backlash from China. The Chinese government and businesses subsequently cut ties with the Rockets and the NBA as a whole.

The NBA has also faced criticism for its handling of human rights issues in China, particularly in regards to the treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

As one of the most popular sports leagues in China, the NBA’s relationship with the country is a lucrative one. However, recent incidents such as this have put that relationship at risk.

The impact on Howard’s career

It remains to be seen how Howard’s comments will affect his future in China and the NBA. While he has apologized, some Chinese netizens may not forgive him for his perceived disrespect of China’s sovereignty.

Howard has had a successful basketball career, having been named an eight-time All-Star and winning an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020. However, this incident could potentially harm his reputation and future opportunities in China.

Former NBA star Dwight Howard has sparked controversy in China after referring to Taiwan as a “country”. His comments have been seen as disrespectful of China’s territorial integrity and sovereignty by many Chinese netizens. Despite his apology, the incident is likely to have lasting repercussions for Howard’s career in China and the NBA, and further strain the already-tense relationship between the NBA and China.

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