Pence: Nike Acts ‘Like a Wholly-Owned Subsidiary’ of China’s Authoritarian Regime

Melanie Arter | October 24, 2019 | 6:07pm EDT
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(Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Vice President Mike Pence said Friday that China is trying to export censorship by exploiting corporate greed, and he accused Nike and the NBA of supporting China’s repressive values.

“Today China’s not only exporting hundreds of billions of dollars in unfairly traded goods to the United States, but lately China’s also been trying to export censorship, the hallmark of its regime, by exploiting corporate greed. Beijing is attempting to influence American public opinion, coercing corporate America,” he said in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.


“And far too many American multinational corporations have kowtowed to the lure of China’s money and markets, by muzzling not only criticism of the Chinese Communist Party, but even affirmative expressions of America’s values,” the vice president said.



“Nike promotes itself as a so-called social justice champion, but when it comes to Hong Kong, it prefers checking its social conscience at the door. Nike stores in China actually removed their Houston Rockets merchandise from their shelves to join the Chinese government in protest against the Rockets general manager’s seven-word tweet, which read: ‘Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,’” Pence said.

“And some of the NBA’s biggest players and owners who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of the people of China. Inciting with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech, the NBA is acting like a wholly-owned subsidiary of that authoritarian regime,” he said.

“A progressive corporate culture that willfully ignores the abuse of human rights is not progressive. It is repressive. When American corporations, professional sports, and pro athletes embrace censorship, it’s not just wrong. It’s un-American. American corporations should stand up for American values here at home and around the world,” the vice president said.

China wants a different American president than President Donald Trump, which is proof that Trump’s leadership is working, Pence said. China’s economy is paying the price while the U.S. economy grows stronger everyday, he said.

Trump does not seek confrontation with China, the vice president said. The U.S. seeks “a level playing field, open markets, fair trade, and a respect for our values.” The U.S. is “not seeking to contain China’s development,” Pence said. It wants “a constructive relationship with China’s leaders like we enjoyed for generations for China’s people.”



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