Can’t make this stuff up.
“ Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
“Right now, those who are best implementing the social doctrine of the Church are the Chinese,” a senior Vatican official has said.
Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, praised the Communist state as “extraordinary”, saying: “You do not have shantytowns, you do not have drugs, young people do not take drugs”. Instead, there is a “positive national conscience”.
“ This, of course, is where President Trump comes into the picture. The head coaches of the Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich, have been vocal critics of Trump since he took office. When Kerr declined to comment on the situation between China and the US and Popovich responded to questions by praising Silver’s handling of the matter, Trump spared no time in hitting back at the two figures, who have been openly critical of his presidency.
“He was shaking, ‘Oh, I don’t know,’” Trump said of Kerr, “he didn’t know how to answer the question, and yet he’ll talk about the United States very badly.” Trump, somewhat more respectfully, pointed out that Popovich didn’t “want to say anything bad” about China.
For those who have celebrated Kerr and Popovich for their outspokenness in the past, the worst part about Trump’s comments was that they weren’t wrong. When it comes to China, players and coaches alike appear to be genuinely afraid to say anything that could upset the situation any further. At best, this position leaves them open to accusations of hypocrisy. At worst, it’s evidence that China’s reaction to Morey’s tweet has already served its purpose in creating a chilling effect throughout the NBA. If that’s the case, the league has already lost this conflict.”
“ And investing in China has paid off. Earlier this year, the league extended its digital rights deal with Tencent for a reported $1.5bn over five years, making the telecom the NBA’s largest partner outside the US.
According to Bloomberg, both the league and its teams have a number of other sponsorship deals and a NBA representative told the news organization that the league’s business in China has grown at double-digit percentages every year since 2008.
China has been a gold mine for NBA players and apparel manufacturers, too. Warriors star Klay Thompson has a contract with the Chinese shoe company Anta worth a reported $80m. Retired star Dwyane Wade has a lifetime deal with rival Li-Ning.
Nike, which supplies the NBA with uniforms and counts Lakers star LeBron James among its many league endorsers, sold $6.21bn worth of merchandise in China in the 2019 fiscal year. The company reportedly has enjoyed sales growth in the country of over 10% in every quarter for more than five years, thanks largely to sales from its Jordan Brand and Nike Basketball.
Last year, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum told Forbes that NBA China, which was founded in 2008 and is the only separately incorporated league business outside of the US, was worth $4bn.
“China is an absolutely enormous market for the NBA in terms of finances, eyeballs, future growth,” Zola said. “You have the world’s largest population and soon to be the largest economy. And it’s huge for the players, too. Several have deals with Chinese companies – Klay Thompson, [Portland guard] CJ McCollum, [Boston forward] Gordon Hayward.”
When Curry launched a new line of signature golf apparel with Under Armour in June, he did so from a course in Shenzhen.
“ Attorney General William Barr announced the indictment of four members of the Chinese military for their role in the massive 2017 Equifax hacking that breached sensitive personal data on an estimated 145 million people in the United States.
The nine-count indictment announced during a Justice Department press conference on Monday morning, charged Wu Zhiyong, Wang Qian, Xu Ke, and Liu Lei, of the People’s Liberation Army’s 54th Research Institute. They allegedly conspired to hack into Equifax’s computer networks and stole massive amounts of information from the consumer credit reporting agency.
“This was a deliberate and sweeping intrusion into the private information of the American people,” Barr said. “Today, we hold PLA hackers accountable for their criminal actions, and we remind the Chinese government that we have the capability to remove the internet’s cloak of anonymity and find the hackers that nation repeatedly deploys against us.”