NBA star Enes Kanter has doubled-down on his criticism of China and has called on Nike to do more in fighting against injustice in the country.
The Boston Celtics center, who has been outspoken about the treatment of minorities in China, wore customized shoes in his team’s win against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday with the words “Modern Day Slavery” and “No More Excuses” written on them.
On Monday, he posted a video on Twitter in which he called out Nike for its silence on injustice in China.
“Nike remains vocal about injustice here in America, but when it comes to China, Nike remains silent,” said Kanter, in a post which used the hashtags #HypocriteNike and #EndUyghurForcedLabor.
“You do not address police brutality in China, you do not speak about discrimination against the LGBTQ community, you do not say a word about the oppression of minorities in China, you are scared to speak up.”
Kanter’s criticism centered particularly around the injustice felt by the Uyghur community — the US State Department estimates that up to two million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have been detained in internment camps in Xinjiang since 2017.
In a three-hour interview with CNN, conducted in Europe where he is now in exile, an ex-detective turned whistleblower revealed rare details on what he described as a systematic campaign of torture against ethnic Uyghurs in the region’s detention camp system.
China has repeatedly denied allegations of human rights abuses, saying the centres are necessary to prevent religious extremism and terrorism.
“Who makes your shoes in China? Do you even know?” Kanter added, the footwear industry was “tainted” by the enforced labor.
“There are so many forced labor factories in China. For instance, Uyghur forced labor, it is modern day slavery, and it is happening right now in China.”
Millions of Uyghurs are currently detained, sold and assigned to work at forced labor camps, prisons and factories across the country. They are under constant surveillance, with long working hours and poor living conditions.
“Don’t forget, every time you put those shoes on your feet, or you put that t-shirt on your back, there are so many tears and so much oppression and so much blood behind it all.”
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