Lawmakers demand NBA players cut ties with Chinese firms accused of "human slavery"
Some Republican lawmakers are demanding that NBA players end their endorsement contracts with Chinese sports retailers Anta and Li-Ning, which continue to source cotton from the Xinjiang region, Politico reports.
Why it matters: The U.S. government has warned that businesses with supply chains and investments in Xinjiang — where China has been accused of carrying out a genocide against Uyghur Muslims — run a "high risk" of violating U.S. laws on forced labor.
State of play: NBA players who have deals with Anta or Li-Ning include the Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler, Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson and former Heat player Dwyane Wade, who has a lifetime endorsement contract with Li-Ning.
What they're saying: "Americans can’t and shouldn’t conduct business with companies and players that profit through human slavery," Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) told Politico.
- "And that includes NBA players — they can’t sign endorsement deals and benefit off slave labor," he added.
- "If they didn’t know [their corporate sponsor] sourced slave labor cotton from Xinjiang, that’s one thing," Perry said. "But if they do know … they are complicit with slavery."
Yes, but: Congress does not have any power to force players to end those contracts, experts told Politico.
Driving the news: House lawmakers are forming a bipartisan caucus to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its oppression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, Axios' Sarah Mucha reports.
- Its goal is to "support legislation aimed at addressing the largest coordinated human rights abuse campaign of the 21st century," according to a group release.