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Golden State Warriors distances itself from Palihapitiya, who said: ‘Nobody cares what happens to the Uighurs’

Palihapitiya made the commentary on the "All-in Podcast" on Saturday after co-host Jason Calacanis brought US President Joe Biden's "very strong" stance on the alleged human rights violations faced by the Uighur minority in China.

"Nobody cares what happens to the Uighurs, okay? You take it up because you really care and I think it's nice that you do not care, the rest of us do not care," Palihapitiya said, while Calacanis reacted surprised.

"I'm just telling you ... a very harsh, ugly truth. Of all the things I love, yes, it's below my limit."

Co-host David Sacks said the average person would not care when the topic is presented to them, but Palihapitiya continued: "I worry about the fact that our economy could become a crown if China invades Taiwan ... I worry on climate change ... I worry about America's crippling and dilapidated health infrastructure.

"But if you ask me, 'Do I care about a segment of a class of people in another country?' Only when we can take care of ourselves will I prioritize them over us. "

The 45-year-old billionaire investor also said the concept of upholding human rights globally is a "luxury belief".

"We are not doing enough domestically to actually express that view in real, tangible ways," he said. "So until we actually clean up our own house, the thought of stepping outside our borders ... about someone else's human rights history is regrettable."

In a statement to CNN on Monday, the Warriors distanced themselves from Palihapitiya's comments: "As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operations with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise and his views. Certainly does not reflect those of our organization. "

The NBA did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

A close-up of the Warriors team logo.

'I look like a lack of empathy'

Palihapitiya is listed as a board member on the Warriors' website. CNN has learned that Palihapitiya owns 2% of the Warriors.
Following an outcry of criticism on social media, Palihapitiya addressed his comments on Twitter, posting a statement with the caption in part: "Important issues deserve nuanced discussions."

"When I re-listen to this week's podcast, I acknowledge that I'm going to act as a lack of empathy. I fully acknowledge that. As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues, so that's something very part of my lived experience.

"To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States or elsewhere. Dot."

Enes Kanter says he wants to change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom and become a US citizen
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom was one of the prominent critics of Palihapitiya's comments on the Uighurs. Freedom recently changed its name from Enes Kanter. He told CNN that his new last name comes from what his teammates have called him.

In recent months, the 11-year-old NBA veteran has used social media and custom-designed clothing during NBA matches to draw attention to and criticize China's treatment of Uighur society, a Muslim minority in the country's far west.

The U.S. State Department estimates that as many as two million Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minorities have been detained in detention camps in China's Xinjiang region since 2017.

Former prisoners claim they have been subjected to intense political indoctrination, forced labor, torture and even sexual abuse. China has repeatedly denied allegations of human rights abuses in the country.

Freedom has also raised awareness of China's treatment of Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong and has recently called for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 in protest.

'External interference'

Freedom's comments have led to a setback in China, where Celtics games have been pulled by Chinese video streaming site Tencent and the government is criticizing Kanter's comments.

With a clip of Palihapitiya's comments, Freedom said on Twitter: "When [the NBA] says we stand for justice, do not forget that there are those who sell their soul for money and business like (Palihapitiya) the owner of (the warriors) who say 'No one cares what happens to the Uighurs. '

"When genocide happens, it's people like this who let it happen. Shame!"

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When asked by the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, their reaction to Palihapitiya's comments, he said at a briefing on Tuesday: "I have not heard the relevant information you mentioned. What I can tell you, however, is that Xinjiang affairs are exclusively is China's internal affairs and we will never tolerate any external interference. "

In December, a London-based independent court ruled that China committed genocide against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, accusing China's senior leadership, including President Xi Jinping, of "primary responsibility" for acts committed against Muslim minority groups.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the size of Palihapitiya's share in the Warriors.


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