Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder and CEO of Social Capital, presents during the 2018 Sohn Investment Conference in New York City, April 23, 2018. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Golden State Warriors owner Chamath Palihapitiya suggested recently that “nobody cares” about China’s system of concentration camps, forced labor, and high-tech surveillance against the Uyghur community in Xinjiang.

“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay,” Palihapitiya said during an appearance on the All-In podcast. “You bring it up because you care and I think it’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care. I’m just telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line.”

Owner of the @warriors🏀 says he doesn’t care about the Uyghurs.

The conversation goes downhill from there.@chamath

– questions whether a genocide is actually happening

– says the CCP isn’t a dictatorship

– says the US is no better than the CCP pic.twitter.com/qAwi7hUPvo

— Michael Sobolik (@michaelsobolik) January 17, 2022

He went on to list other issues that occupy his focus, including climate change, the potential economic fallout of China invading Taiwan, and U.S. stores not having stocked shelves. The Warriors part-owner said that if America is able to find solutions to all of its own issues then he might shift focus to the oppression of the Uyghurs.

Palihapitiya is the founder and CEO of Social Capital, a venture capital fund whose self-declared mission is “to advance humanity by solving the world’s hardest problems.”

The comments were reminiscent of that of another NBA owner, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who said in October 2020 that he is “against human rights violations around the world,” though he is “OK doing business with China,” where more than one million Muslims have been imprisoned in concentration camps because “we have to pick our battles.”

Cuban’s comments came during an appearance on The Megyn Kelly Show podcast, in which the former Fox News and NBC News host asked why Cuban and the NBA wouldn’t “explicitly condemn” the numerous human rights abuses being carried out by the Chinese government, including the ethnic cleansing of Muslims, torture, forced labor, coercive population controls, forced abortions and forced sterilizations.

“I personally put a priority on domestic issues. I’m against human rights violations around the world,” Cuban said at the time.

When Kelly pushed back, asking if that included violations in China, Cuban replied, “China is not the only country with human rights violations.”

After further pressing, Cuban said, “Yes, including China. Any human rights violations anywhere are wrong,” though he listed other countries where human rights violations occur, including Turkey and some African countries. 

Meanwhile, Boston Celtics star Enes Kanter has been outspoken in calling out China for its human rights atrocities and in calling out the NBA and his fellow players, including LeBron James, for their silence on the issue and their willingness to continue to do business with China.

Kanter said in November that NBA commissioner Adam Silver affirmed his right to speak out against injustice in China, despite one of his previous protests against China’s treatment of Tibet having led to the Chinese video-streaming site Tencent pulling the Celtics’ season opener. Tencent pays more than $1 billion to the NBA.

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