A Chinese man was required by his workplace to issue an apology after expressing his love for Team Rocket, the antagonistic trio from Pokémon, and insinuating his support for the Hong Kong protests. The man works for Guangzhou Central Sports, a Chinese company that manages sporting events throughout the country. He declared his admiration for the team on WeChat, a Chinese messaging and social media app.
"I love Team Rocket! No matter how many people say they're bad guys, I've loved them since I was a little kid. No matter how many times they fail, they get back up and keep chasing after their dreams, and seeing them do that gives me courage too. Thank you, Jessie, James, and Meowth."
In addition to his message, the man also included a picture of the ineffectual villains as well as another image detailing the controversy between the NBA's Houston Rockets and the Chinese government. Team Rocket and the Houston Rockets are written in the same Hanzi characters "火箭队".
Earlier this month, China severed ties with the team after the team's general manager Daryl Morey expressed support for Hong Kong and the pro-democracy protests that have taken place. China urged the team's management to edit Morey's message, but not before Chinese sports broadcaster CCTV 5 suspended any airings of the team's games. Other Chinese companies have also dropped their support of the Rockets, including Tencent Sports who refused to livestream or share any news related to the team, leaving 500 million viewers in the dark.
Guangzhou Central Sports issued an apology for the post, claiming it was "inappropriate content that adversely affects society." The man who issued the initial statement also issued a formal apology, affirming his love and support for his country.
"I apologize for causing a controversy and hurting everyone...I love my mother country...When I watched the parade commemorating our country's founding, my hot tears overflowed."
The man stated in his apology that his post wasn't meant to show support for the Houston Rockets.
This post was made amid the ongoing standoff between the Chinese government and western companies for demonstrating their support for the Hong Kong protests. Many of them quickly rescinded their support, such as the NBA, or have punished those who show individual support for the protests, as is currently the case with Blizzard Entertainment.
Earlier this month, the company stripped competitive Hearthstone player Ng Wai Chung of his earnings and barred him from entering future competitions after he expressed his support for Hong Kong. One of the punishments doled out by the publisher includes imposing 1000 year-long bans on the official Blizzard forums for members who express their sympathies for the region.
Source: Anime News Network