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Sport NBA China: Houston Rockets fan arrested for threatening to burn flag

15:10  09 october  2019
15:10  09 october  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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Chinese authorities arrest Rockets fan for threatening to burn national flag . Flag desecration is illegal in China and violators could face up to three years in prison. Comments reacting to his post included, "He has committed crime of splitting the state, he deserves a life sentence, he will keep

Chinese authorities have arrested a Houston Rockets fan who threatened to burn China ’s national flag — an illegal act in the communist country that can result in up The Rockets have been arguably the most popular NBA franchise in China since the team drafted Chinese superstar Yao Ming in 2002.

A man in China has been arrested after he threatened to burn the national flag on social media while wearing a Houston Rockets jersey, according to reports. 

An NBA logo is seen on the facade of its flagship store at the Wangfujing shopping street in Beijing, China October 8, 2019. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang © Thomson Reuters An NBA logo is seen on the facade of its flagship store at the Wangfujing shopping street in Beijing, China October 8, 2019. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

Howard Wang, 25, was taken into custody Tuesday and is accused of publishing "insults directed against the national flag" on Weibo, which is China's version of Twitter, on Sunday, according to CNN, which cited authorities. The arrest comes amid a week of fractured relations between the NBA and China, due to a tweet from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey that expressed support for human rights protests in Hong Kong, which are considered anti-government. (Morey later deleted the tweet and offered an apology).

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Team members said they did it to support the ongoing protests for so cial justice and racial equality. "No disrespect to the flag . It's simply to bring attention to the issues at hand, and I think we did the right thing," Roosevelt Houston Rockets fan arrested in China after threatening to burn national flag .

On Tuesday, Chinese authorities arrested a Rockets fan who threatened to burn the national flag while wearing a team jersey. The Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers are scheduled to play the first of two preseason games in China on Thursday, but the media sessions and charity events leading up

The post includes Wang with a photo of himself appearing on the verge of burning the flag, with the caption "I live and die with the team." According to CNN, Wang told police to "come and arrest him." Flag desecration is illegal in China and violators could face up to three years in prison. Comments reacting to his post included, "He has committed crime of splitting the state, he deserves a life sentence, he will keep creating troubles to society." 

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The controversy has led to the possible cancellation of preseason games in China, with the media sessions for the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers already postponed. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has gone into damage control and released a statement Tuesday that tried to thread the needle between respecting China and making it clear the league would not deter any of its employees from exercising the right of free speech. 

San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich, one of the moral compasses within the league, threw his support behind Silver's latest statement.  

Contributing: Associated Press 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NBA China: Houston Rockets fan arrested for threatening to burn flag

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