Taiwanese-American NBA fan raises money to support HK protesters
Los Angeles, Oct. 16 (CNA) A Taiwanese-American recently launched an online fundraising campaign to design and give away free T-shirts in support of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters at the Oct. 22 National Basketball Association (NBA) season opener at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, a U.S. news outlet reported earlier this month.
The fan, identified only by the pseudonym "Sun Lared," told the LAist news website that he launched the campaign on the social media website Reddit Oct. 6, as the world's most popular pro hoop league was coming under heavy fire in China for a pro-Hong Kong democracy tweet by the general manager of the Houston Rockets, one of the league's 30 teams.
Sun Lared said he is a Taiwanese-American in his 30s, works in tech in the Bay Area, and has friends in both Hong Kong and China, according to an article published online on Oct. 9.
The Rockets' executive had posted an image on Twitter earlier this month that read "fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong," drawing strong opposition from China and leading to the team being put on a blacklist by China's top state broadcaster, who said it would not broadcast any Rockets games in the coming season.
The Chinese anger expanded to include the NBA leadership after the league's top manager, commissioner Adam Silver, later said the NBA respects its members' freedom of expression.
Sun Lared told the LAist that he was "pushed into action" after seeing the Chinese backlash to the tweet by Rocket's manager Daryl Morey.
"I think it's important for us to stand for free speech alongside the people of Hong Kong and to stand against foreign attempts at forcing us into self-censorship," he said.
With the shirts costing just under US$3 each, his plan is to order 16,000-plus shirts, enough to outfit most of the spectators in the 20,000-person capacity arena, he was quoted as saying.
The Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles is the home stadium for two NBA teams, the Lakers and the Clippers.
He said all money raised will go toward making the T-shirts and he has been told that more than 100 people were willing to help hand out the shirts.
According to the LAist, Lared had raised US$43,000 in less than 48 hours.
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