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Celtics' Enes Kanter calls Chinese President Xi Jinping an 'insecure tyrant,' wants Beijing Olympics moved

"The genocidal Chinese government and the insecure tyrant behind it all XI JINPING must not be allowed to host the upcoming Winter Olympics," he tweeted.
Image: Enes Kanter
Enes Kanter of the Boston Celtics during a preseason game against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena on Oct. 15, 2021 in Miami, Fla.Michael Reaves / Getty Images file

Boston Celtics' Enes Kanter is once again lobbying an attack at Chinese President Xi Jinping, calling him an "insecure tyrant" who should not be allowed to host the 2022 Olympic Games.

"The genocidal Chinese government and the insecure tyrant behind it all XI JINPING must not be allowed to host the upcoming Winter Olympics. Say NO to @Beijing2022!!" the NBA center tweeted Saturday.

In his post, Kanter included four images of blue sneakers with red paint dripping down the side, apparently to resemble blood. The words "No Beijing 2022," "Move the games" and "No rights, no games" were written on the shoes.

Last week, Kanter posted a video calling Jinping a "brutal dictator" and voiced support for Tibet's independence.

“I’m here to add my voice and speak out about what is happening in Tibet. Under the Chinese government’s brutal rule, Tibetan people’s basic rights and freedoms are nonexistent,” he said while wearing a T-shirt depicting Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Kanter ended the video by repeating, “Free Tibet” three times.

Tencent, which as the NBA’s digital streaming partner in China attracts half a billion viewers a season, pulled a broadcast of a Celtics’ game in the wake of Kanter's comment. The basketball player was also apparently blocked from searches on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform. One Celtics fan account on the site told its followers that it would no longer post about the team because "any behavior that undermines the harmony of the nation and the dignity of the motherland, we resolutely resist!”

The NBA did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded to Kanter's comments in the video, saying that the athlete was just "trying to get attention."

“We will never accept those attacks to discredit Tibet’s development and progress,” he said.

The outspoken athlete, who was born in Switzerland to Turkish parents and grew up in Turkey, has also criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for what he and other activists say are authoritarian policies. The Turkish government has revoked Kanter’s passport and issued warrants for his arrest on charges including defamation and terrorism.