By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Dec.1: The head of the exile Tibetan polity and President of the exile Tibetan government Penpa Tsering has expressed gratitude to Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter for his “resolute stand for human rights and freedom” in support of those oppressed under Chinese rule including Tibetans.
In a letter dated November 23, the Sikyong (President) wrote, “I have come to learn with great admiration about your advocacy for the rights and freedoms of Tibetans suffering under China’s repressive rule. As a person of your stature, your support has tremendously helped amplify the voices of the Tibetan people. It is also a great source of encouragement and hope for the Tibetan people inside Tibet and around the world, as well as to all those oppressed under the authoritarian regime of the Chinese government”.
“Your support comes at a crucial time when the Chinese government is increasingly and aggressively using its economic clout to threaten the universal values of democracy, freedom and rule of law,” he added.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile Khenpo Sonam Tenphel also lauded kanter for his activism and using his clout for the welfare of those oppressed by Beijing leadership.
The NBA star who became a US citizen on Monday changed his name legally to Enes Kanter Freedom, in line with his vocal opposition of authoritarian leaderships in his native country Turkey and lately the Chinese communist government and whose President he called “brutal dictator Xi Jinping”. His outspoken criticism of Chinese government for their treatment of Tibetans, Hong Kongers, Uyghurs as well as support for Taiwan has jeopardised his career as an athlete in the NBA that also relies on Chinese market.
The Turkish-American player wore a custom “Free Tibet” shoe for the opening game, designed by Badiucao, a Chinese-Australian artist. The paintings on the shoe commemorate the more than 150 Tibetans who have self-immolated in protest against China’s tyranny over Tibet.
He is now officially banned on Weibo, tweets Wenhao. His team, the Boston Celtics, games have been banned in China.