, 6 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Few people would have ever known or cared what the Houston Rockets' GM had to say about #HongKong had the Chinese gov not made a big deal about it. So now everyone knows, and it is backfiring on Beijing, right? Actually, I'm skeptical of that argument: bbc.com/news/business-…
In this particular episode perhaps it is making the NBA look craven & making Beijing look petty, but when one takes a longer view the strategy may work. As with all of these grovelling corporate apologies, it is a reminder to others: toe the party line or lose market access.
This means that prominent entities doing work in China know they have to self-censor, and maybe get their staff to self-censor as well, in order to keep their access. They may hold private beliefs critical of China but won't express them for fear of repercussions.
Over time, this means that there are fewer & fewer criticisms about Chinese government policies on the international radar. Eventually this could change how casual observers think about those policies. It's a strategy aimed at global preference falsification (cite: @timurkuran).
We pay attention to the Rockets episode now, but let's see how many people remember it a year from now or 5 years from now. The long-term result of more institutions staying silent may be worth the short-term & minor cost for the gov of everyone knowing about the GM's tweet.
Of course, time will tell how effective the strategy is, but it seems to me that's why the CCP wants to pick these fights that seemingly inadvertently publicize criticisms of its policies.
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