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TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan on Wednesday opened an office to facilitate migration from Hong Kong following China’s passage of a national security law for the former British colony seen as sharply restricting political opposition and freedom of speech.

Taiwan is a self-governing democracy claimed by China as its own territory and has firmly rejected Beijing’s demand that it unify with the mainland under the “one country, two systems” framework in place in Hong Kong.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council minister, Chen Ming-tong, said the office would assist Hong Kong professionals seeking to move to the island for a range of purposes, including education and business.

Under Hong Kong’s national security law enacted Tuesday, those found guilty of inciting activities deemed to be of a secessionist, subversive or terrorist nature or of colluding with foreign forces could face up to life imprisonment.

The establishment of the office is “not only a statement on Taiwan’s support to Hong Kong’s democracy and freedom, but also highlights our determination to care for Hong Kong people,” Chen told reporters.

Chen said the law’s implementation effectively terminates China’s promise to allow Hong Kong to retain its separate legal, economic and civil rights promised to it for 50 years beginning from the 1997 return to Chinese rule.

Taiwan’s high-tech economy and falling birthrate have prompted the government to entice Taiwanese professionals to return from abroad, as well as to attract new capital and investment from other countries and territories.

China has cut ties with Taiwan’s government and stepped up its efforts to isolate the island diplomatically, and has said it will bring Taiwan under its control by military force if necessary.

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NBA Allows Anti-Cop Slogans on Jerseys, Not Free Hong Kong

Customers looking to purchase NBA jerseys with approved custom slogans on the back have found that the NBA store endorses anti-cop slogans, but “Free Hong Kong” was forbidden.

Several would-be NBA customers took to social media to report that the NBA’s official store had curious criteria for what phrases it will allow to be put on official NBA merchandise.

“The NBA bans you, the fan, from putting #freehongkong on customized league jerseys even as they allow players to wear customized jerseys,” Clay Travis tweeted Monday.

Travis included a short video clip showing him trying to put “Free Hong Kong” into the NBA’s customization field on its website. But when he tried to type in “Free Hong Kong,” the site would not allow the phrase.

“We are unable to customize this item with the text you have entered,” the website says after the phrase is typed in. “Please try a different entry.”

The NBA bans you, the fan, from putting #freehongkong on customized league jerseys even as they allow players to wear customized jerseys.

— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) July 13, 2020

Other users tried a variety of “free” phrases, and all were allowed except “free Hong Kong.”

I just tried it and it basically lets you do "Free Anything" except for "Free Hong Kong."

— JERRY DUNLEAVY (@JerryDunleavy) July 13, 2020

The NBA store even allowed “Kill Cops,” and “Burn Jews,” but not “free Hong Kong.”

Oh. “@NBA Bans Custom Free Hong Kong Jerseys, Allows Burn Jews And Kill Cops”

— Tammy Bruce (@HeyTammyBruce) July 14, 2020

As the Washington Free Beacon noted, a litany of hate-filled phrases were allowed, including:

  • NINE 11 HOAX

Even as the NBA continues to kowtow to their multimillion-dollar business partner, the Chinese government has formally ended freedom in Hong Kong with a new law that criminalizes pro-democracy protests. Last week, Chinese security forces from the mainland flooded into Hong Kong and began arresting pro-democracy activists under the new law.

Once the embarrassing news of the NBA website’s refusal to allow “free Hong Kong” phrases on its merchandise, the website was updated the next day to allow the phrase to be put on customized jerseys.

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