China fines ex-NBA star Lin for quarantine comments

China fines ex-NBA star Lin for quarantine comments

BEIJING — Former NBA star Jeremy Lin, who plays for a Chinese team, was fined 10,000 yuan ($1,400) for criticizing quarantine facilities. chinaThe professional league and a news report said Friday, as the government tries to quell protests against anti-virus controls that are among the strictest in the world.

Also on Friday, more cities eased restrictions, allowing malls, supermarkets and other businesses to reopen after last weekend’s protests in Shanghai and other areas in which some crowds called for President Xi Jinping to step down. Urumqi, in the northwest, the site of a deadly fire that sparked the protests, announced the reopening of supermarkets and other businesses.

The ruling Communist Party is trying to squash criticism over the human cost and disruption of its “zero COVID” strategy, which has confined millions of people to their homes. Protesters have been arrested and photos and videos of the events have been removed from Chinese social media. Police were spread across Shanghai, Beijing and other cities to try to prevent further protests.

Lin, who plays for the Loong Lions Basketball Club, made “inappropriate remarks about the quarantine facilities related to the hotel” where the team stayed before a game on Wednesday, the Basketball Association announced from China He said it “caused adverse effects to the league and the competition area”.

The association did not give details of Lin’s comments and there was no sign of his account on the popular social media platform Sina Weibo.

Shanghai news paper The Paper reported that Lin posted a video complaining about the hotel’s training facilities ahead of next week’s games in Zhuji, a city south of Shanghai in the Zhejiang province.

“Can you believe this is a weight room?” Lin was quoted as saying. “What kind of rubbish is this?” The newspaper said the video was removed after “the situation was clarified” that the hotel was only for a short stay required by regulations.

A representative for Vision China Entertainment, which says on its website that it represents Lin, did not respond to a request for comment. Phone calls to Loong Lions headquarters in the southern city of Guangzhou were not answered.

Lin, born in California to parents Taiwanhe was the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA.

Lin played for the California Golden State Warriors in 2010 before joining the New York Knicks in the 2011-12 season. He became the first Asian American to win an NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors in 2019. He played for the Beijing Ducks in 2019 before joining the Loong Lions.

On Friday, there were no signs of further protests.

China’s case numbers are low, but “zero COVID” aims to isolate all infected people. This has led local authorities to suspend access to neighborhoods and close schools, shops and offices. Manufacturers, including the largest iPhone factory, use “closed-loop” management, which requires employees to live in their workplace without outside contact.

Residents in some areas complain that local officials, who are under threat of being fired if an outbreak occurs, are imposing excessive quarantines and other restrictions in response to a surge in infections that began in October.

The government reported 34,980 infections detected in the past 24 hours, including 30,702 without symptoms.

Demonstrations erupted on November 25 after a fire at an apartment building in Urumqi killed at least 10 people.

That prompted angry questions online about whether firefighters or victims trying to escape were blocked by locked doors or other anti-virus controls. Authorities denied it, but the deaths became a focus of public frustration.

Xi’s government has promised to reduce the cost and disruption of controls but says it will stick with “zero COVID”. Health experts and economists expect it to remain in place until at least mid-2023 and possibly until 2024, while millions of elderly people get vaccinated in preparation for the lifting of controls that keep most visitors out of China.

Urumqi will “increase efforts to resume production and trade” by reopening hotels, restaurants, large supermarkets and ski resorts, the official Guangming Daily reported on its website, citing Sui Rong, a member of the Municipal Committee.

Elsewhere, the northern city of Hohhot in the Inner Mongolia region restarted bus service and allowed restaurants and small businesses to reopen, state media said. Jinzhou, in the northeast, lifted restrictions on movement and allowed businesses to reopen.

Tiajjin, a port east of Beijing, said subway passengers no longer need to present negative virus tests. Fuzhou, on the southeast coast, said people who do not go out no longer need to be tested.

On Thursday, the southern metropolis of Guangzhou, the biggest hotspot for the latest spike in infections, allowed supermarkets and restaurants to reopen.

Other major cities, including Shijiazhuang in the north and Chengdu in the southwest, restarted bus and subway service and allowed businesses to reopen.

The ruling party says it is trying to clamp down on local officials who are under pressure to prevent outbreaks as businesses reopen.

“Without approval, it is strictly prohibited to arbitrarily close schools and suspend classes, suspend work and production, block traffic or enforce isolation measures,” the ruling party newspaper People’s Daily said in an editorial.

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