Golden State Warriors minority owner says ‘nobody cares’ about Uyghur genocide24 Jan 2022
Last week, a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors caused backlash over his controversial statements on the Uyghur genocide, sparking further debate on the relationship between economic privilege and social awareness.
On his ‘All In’ podcast on Saturday, billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya said that “nobody cares” about the Uyghur Muslim genocide taking place in China, whist discussing why Joe Biden’s support for the Uyghurs had not helped his poll ratings.
“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay. You bring it up because you really care, and I think it’s nice that you really care, the rest of us don’t care,” said Palihapitiya, who is also on the board of Virgin Galactic. “I’m just telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things I care about, yes, it’s below my line.
The Warriors soon distanced themselves from Palihapitiya’s comments. “As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization,” the team said in a statement.
Palihapitiya took to Twitter to try to “clarify” his remarks.
“In re-listening to this week’s podcast, I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy. I acknowledge that entirely,” he wrote. “As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues, so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience. To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere. Full stop.”
As apathetic as Palihapitiya’s remarks were, however, he may have revealed an important point in how “nobody cares” about Uyghur Muslims. The economic power that China possesses inevitably mean it can negotiate silence on the part of corporations seeking to invest in the Xinjiang province. The same goes for those seeking to protect their financial interest in a billion-dollar Chinese market, such as the NBA and its network of franchises whose business relations with China ultimately render the lives of Uyghur Muslims insignificant when pit against immense profit. These are the same organizations who display a commitment to civil rights in their own countries.
Ever since the United Nations first broke news of the internment camps situated in Xinjiang there have been countless successive reports unearthing the broader architecture of the unfolding genocide, which have included not just the existence of brainwashing orphanages for children but the general transformation of Xinjiang into a surveillance state.
Last month, a tribunal in the UK said that the Uyghurs have been subjected to what amounts to genocide by Chinese authorities.
“Hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs – with some estimates well in excess of a million – have been detained by PRC [People’s Republic of China] authorities without any, or any remotely sufficient reason, and subjected to acts of unconscionable cruelty, depravity and inhumanity,” the tribunal’s report said. “Sometimes up to 50 have been detained in a cell of 22 sq metres.”