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Security At NBA Game Confiscates Pro-Hong Kong Signs From Fans

Security at a Wednesday night NBA game between the Washington Wizards and Guangzhou Long Lions confiscated signs that read “Free Hong Kong” and “Google: Uyghurs” from several game attendees.

Wizards spokesman Scott Hall confirmed the incident to Fox News, stating, “The building security staff removed signs tonight in accordance with Capital One Arena’s long-standing Signs, Banners, Posters, and Flag Policy. No fans were asked to leave the game.”

One of the attendees, Jon Schweppe, posted several videos to Twitter showing security guards confiscating the signs.

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Just had our “Free Hong Kong” sign confiscated at Capitol One Arena at the Wizards game against the Guangzhou Long Lions. #FreeHongKong #NBA #Censorship,” Schweppe wrote in his first tweet from the game. 

Schweppe added that he and other attendees were wearing t-shirts that read “Free Hong Kong.”

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“We are currently standing tall behind the basket with our Free Hong Kong shirts on. We were told if we do another sign we will be removed. Standing tall in our [t-shirts],” he noted in another tweet.

In a later tweet, Schweppe says security confiscated a different sign that read, “Google: Uyghurs,” in reference to the Muslim minority ethnic group that has experienced extensive human-rights abuses by the Chinese government.

Former Chief of Staff to Marco Rubio Cesar Conda, who was at Wednesday’s Wizards-Lions game, questioned the NBA’s sign policy.

The [NBA’s Ted Leonsis] will claim ‘political’ signs are not allowed. But this is hypocritical because they actively encourage their players to be political. Example: #icantbreathe shirts worn by NBA players at the games. Why can’t fans do same?” he tweeted.

The confiscation, which has since made headlines across the globe, came as the NBA falls under intense scrutiny for censoring a Houston Rockets general manager for his pro-Hong Kong tweets.

The NBA has since suspended all 11 of its partnerships with Chinese companies.

“It is inevitable that people around the world — including from America and China — will have different viewpoints over different issues” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in the statement. “It is not the role of the NBA to adjudicate those differences.”

Hong Kong has experienced approximately four months of demonstrations across the region, which were sparked by a since-withdrawn extradition bill that would have sent Hong Kong residents convicted of crimes to mainland China for trial.

The bill was one of five demands made by Hongkongers who have kept the protests going. The other four include Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation, an inquiry into police brutality, the release of those who have been arrested and more democratic freedoms, according to CNN.

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