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Man in China Apologizes for Praising Pokémon's Team Rocket Due to Possible Allusion to Hong Kong Support

posted on by Kim Morrissy

A Chinese man was required by his workplace to issue an apology for sharing his love for Pokémon's Team Rocket. The man works for China's Guangzhou Central Sports, a company that manages sporting events in the country.

The man posted about his admiration of the comedic villains on the WeChat social media app and wrote:

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.

His post included two images, one of the characters and another about the ongoing controversy between the NBA's Housten Rockets team and China's government. China suspended its ties with the team earlier this month after the team's general manager Daryl Morey shared support for the ongoing Hong Kong democracy protests on Twitter. China urged the team's management to rectify Morey's statement and the country's sports broadcaster CCTV 5 suspended airing any of the team's games. Tencent Sports doubled down and also refused to livestream Houston Rocket games or any news related to the team, cutting off 500 million viewers. Several Chinese company sponsors also dropped support.

Morey has since clarified his statements do not reflect those of the NBA or the Rockets and deleted his previous tweet in support of Hong Kong.

Team Rocket and the Houston Rockets are written with the same Hanzi "火箭队."

Guangzhou Central Sports issued an apology for the post, stating it was “inappropriate content that adversely affects society” and included a signed apology by the Team Rocket fan. The signed page included statements by the employee reaffirming his admiration for China. Excerpts include:

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 also stated in the apology that his post was not meant to show support for the Houston Rockets.

Source: Rocket News 24 (Casey Baseel), CNN (Laura He)

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