Enes Kanter Freedom on Capitol Hill Details CCP Ties With the NBA

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Recent Nobel Peace Prize-nominated NBA free agent Enes Kanter Freedom received a warm applause from Senators on Capitol Hill at an awards ceremony for his continued activism against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) crimes against humanity, particularly the persecution of the Muslim Uyghur population, and forced organ harvesting in China.

When it comes to the NBA, “you can talk about all the social (injustice) happening all around the world. But when it comes to China, you cannot speak up,” said Freedom. “If you do, then you’d have to face the consequences.”

Freedom was released by the Houston Rockets soon after a trade from the Boston Celtics on Feb. 10. He was one of the highest-rated back-up centers statistically in the NBA, and believes that his activism cost him his career.

“I want to tell you guys that I have no regrets,” declared Freedom. There are “more important things besides money and business such as morals, principles, and values.”

In interviews on major television networks in November 2021, Freedom said that the United States should boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. On Dec. 6, 2021, the U.S. government did officially boycott the Olympics by not sending any government representatives.

Freedom added that after learning about all of the persecution and human rights violations committed by the CCP, if he didn’t speak out against it, he would not be able to sleep at night.

Born Enes Kanter in Switzerland on May 20, 1992, before his family moved back to their native Turkey, he changed his name to Enes Kanter Freedom upon becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen on Nov. 29, 2021.

He’s been notorious for wearing basketball shoes in NBA games with various works of art to include slogans such as “Free China, Free Tibet,” and “Stop Organ Harvesting in China.”

Epoch Times Photo
Enes Katner Freedom’s NBA worn game shoes in protest of the CCP human rights violations, covered in The Epoch Times “China in Focus.”

The China Tribunal, a non-governmental people’s tribunal based in London looking into forced organ harvesting in China, declared its “final judgment” stating that the CCP is guilty of crimes against humanity due to its forced harvesting of organs from prisoners of conscience, on June 17, 2019.

The Tribunal confirmed beyond a reasonable doubt that the CCP, on a mass scale, cut out the hearts and other organs of Falun Gong adherents and China’s Muslim Uyghurs for transplants, killing them in the process.

The chair of the China Tribunal, Sir Geoffrey Nice, was also the lead prosecutor at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic of the International Criminal Tribunal for the genocide in the former Yugoslavia.

Freedom himself has been persecuted by the Turkish government despite his representing Turkey in International Basketball from U-16 competitions to playing with the senior national team in 2011.

He is unable to return to Turkey, or travel overseas, as there is a warrant for his arrest with Interpol for his open criticism of human rights abuses by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. His father has been arrested for the same reason.

In high school, Freedom declined two European basketball franchises and moved to Simi Valley, California, in 2009 to attend Stoneridge Preparatory School and became a five-star recruit. He committed to the University of Kentucky, but was deemed ineligible due to some monies received by Turkish professional sports club Fenerbahce in his youth.

He then entered the 2011 NBA Draft and was picked third overall by the Utah Jazz, and has played with five NBA franchises before his recent release.

His philanthropic work includes hosting free basketball camps in the United States, beginning with 16 camps in the summer of 2018. Fifty camps were provided in 2019, and Freedom planned another 50 camps for 2020 but had to cease them due to COVID-19 mandates.

It was at one of the camps when a mother called him out “in front of everybody” that he learned about the crimes against humanity committed by the CCP, he said at the conference.

“‘You call yourself a human rights activist, when your Muslim brothers and sisters are in concentration camps and getting tortured and raped every day,’” the woman told him.

“I was shocked. I couldn’t say anything,” he said, adding that he “turned around to that parent and I promised, ‘I will get back to you.’ So, that day I canceled everything. I went back to my hotel and started to study, and started to learn about what’s going on over there.”

Epoch Times Photo
The shoes of Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics before the Celtics home opener against the Toronto Raptors at TD Garden, in Boston, on October 22, 2021. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Freedom also recalled the Houston Rockets general manager writing on Twitter in support of the Hong Kong protesters two years ago.

“[The] NBA wanted to silence everybody,” said Freedom. “I got a call from my agent … ‘The whole Chinese government [is] watching your Twitter—do not say anything.’ And the Celtics made media unavailable for two weeks.”

Freedom confirmed that he will continue to stand up for what he believes in, like his mother taught him when he was young, even if it results in him losing everything.

In October 2021, Freedom spoke out against CCP leader Xi Xinping, calling him a “brutal dictator,” while supporting the Free Tibet Movement on social media. The CCP stopped streaming all Boston Celtics games thereafter.

The likelihood of returning to the NBA seems unlikely. However, the 29-year-old would be the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize if he wins this year.

The Epoch Times/Epoch TV “China in Focus” contributed to this article.

Nhat Hoang

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