On Friday, after Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter posted a video to his social media accounts in which he defended Taiwan’s sovereignty, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen responded.
“Thank you, Enes, for standing with Taiwan. We will always defend our hard-earned freedom and democracy,” the president said. “And the support from you and our friends around the world gives us strength. Taiwan is also home to many basketball fans, and we are all rooting for you.”
— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) November 13, 2021
Kanter shared Tsai’s video on his Instagram, captioning it: “What an honor! Thank you to the president of Taiwan [Tsai Ing-wen] for your kind words. I can’t wait to come visit your beautiful country, learn about Taiwanese culture, taste some of your delicious food, and meet the brave people of Taiwan. We are stronger when we stand together.”
He capped off his response with an emoji of the Taiwanese flag.
Kanter said the following in his Friday video:
Taiwan is not a part of China. Taiwan is a democratic and free country — and I stand with Taiwan. Did you know that even though Taiwan has their own history, their own government … their own elections, their own everything, Xi Jinping is stuck in his own world, claims Taiwan is a part of China, and [constantly] threatens to invade Taiwan. The country’s 24 million Taiwanese people just want to live peacefully and freely. They cherish freedom, human rights, and democracy. Taiwan is a force for good. What the Chinese government is doing to Taiwan is even more proof that Xi Jinping and the Chinese regime are a threat to freedoms everywhere. We see what they are doing to Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers. Taiwan is now at the frontlines against China’s dictatorship.
My message to all freedom supporters watching this today is: We are stronger together. We must all stand with Taiwan, support Taiwan, and defend democracy. We must keep Taiwan free and safe. Taiwan is already independent, and I believe and hope the country will be free and democratic forever. The future of Taiwan must be determined by the Taiwanese people.
My message to all freedom supporters watching this today is:
We are stronger together.
We must all #StandWithTaiwan,
support Taiwan, and defend democracy.
We must keep Taiwan free and safe.
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) November 12, 2021
Kanter has long been a vocal critic of his home nation’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. However, the Celtics player has recently come out swinging against China.
In mid-October, Kanter released a video calling on the Chinese Communist Party and President Xi Jinping to “free Tibet.” He followed that initial post with another in which he spoke out against Uyghur Muslim enslavement in China, and referred to Xi as a “heartless dictator.”
“Heartless dictator of China, Xi Jinping, and the Communist Party of China, I’m calling you out right now in front of the whole world,” Kanter said. “Close down the slave labor camps and free the Uyghur people. Stop the genocide now.”
The Celtics player has also called out fellow Muslim athletes over their silence, as well as Nike and LeBron James.