Bowing to pressure from NBA executives to foster an environment more consistent with the league's stated values of "respect, inclusion, and diversity," the Chinese government has agreed to install gender-neutral bathrooms at its forced-labor detention facilities in Xinjiang province, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The Chinese concession is a much-needed public-relations victory for the NBA following a damning report on several league-sponsored training academies in China where players were physically abused and denied promised educational opportunities. A former NBA employee compared the atmosphere at one such facility in Xinjiang to that of "World War II Germany."
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Chinese state media reported that authorities in Xinjiang, where more than a million Uyghur Muslims are confined in government-run concentration camps and subject to a ruthless campaign of ethnic cleansing, have also declared that facilities such as copper mines, torture dungeons, enhanced interrogation cells, and reeducation grottos would no longer be segregated according to gender identity.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver praised China's announcement as a "slam dunk for human rights" and applauded President Xi Jinping for "not dropping the ball when it comes to gender neutrality." In exchange, Silver said, the NBA would reconsider its opposition to forcing non-playoff teams to enlist in a pro-China mercenary force that would be on call to assist in the pacification of Chinese Taipei.
Mark Tatum, the league's deputy commissioner and chief operating officer, said he was hopeful the United States would "follow China's lead on human rights" by continuing to promote inclusion, anti-racism, and white fragility. He cited "significant progress" since 2017, when the NBA refused to hold its All-Star Game in Charlotte, N.C., in response to a state law requiring individuals to use bathrooms corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificates.