By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, DEC 2: The artists of the Tibetan Association of Philadelphia performed a traditional Tibetan dance from Kongpo region last Saturday at a National Basketball Association (NBA) match between Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers. The youth performed in traditional Kongpo dresses on this international sports platform that is popular around the world.
In October, Tibet rights’ activists alongside Hong Kong democracy activists, demonstrated at an NBA game against the league’s kowtowing to China that surfaced after Houston Rocket’s Manager Daryl Morey tweeted “Fight for freedom stand with Hong Kong”. This twitter row led to suspending broadcasts of NBA pre-games in China, Houston Rockets being virtually blacklisted, and Yao Ming, the president of Chinese Basketball Association, cut ties with the Rockets team after he expressed his dissatisfaction with the issue.
The protestors called for freedom in Tibet, East Turkestan and Hong Kong. The demonstration attracted huge attention through social media and shared videos for human rights’ justice in these occupied lands. The opening dance by Tibetan youth also garnered support from outside. The Tibetan traditional dance Kongshay
was performed by 12 young Tibetan dancers from the association as seen in the video shared on many social media platforms.
After a lot of criticism from both the sides, NBA has tried to create a space for different cultures to peacefully co-exist. The group has performed for the 4th time in an NBA court including the 76rs v/s Pacers’ game. Tenzin Nordon Khelmalchang, a member of the association, posted the video of the performance with an update: The performers are overwhelmed and touched by all the love and support! The video has been circulated in the Tibetan disapora worldwide with an enthusiasm and hope for an inclusive future.