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Pence backs HK protesters, slams Nike

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on October 24, 2019 - Duration: 01:52s

Pence backs HK protesters, slams Nike

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday accused China of curtailing "rights and liberties" in Hong Kong and criticized U.S. company Nike and the National Basketball Association for falling in line with Beijing in a disagreement over free speech.

Yahaira Jacquez reports.

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Pence backs HK protesters, slams Nike

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence took aim at China in a wide-ranging speech Thursday, just as the two sides are set to once again attempt to strike a trade deal.

(SOUNBITE) (ENGLISH) VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE SAYING: "Beijing has still not taken significant action to improve our economic relationship, and on many other issues we raised, its behavior has become more aggressive." Pence did not shy away from issues sensitive to China, accusing Beijing of continuing to steal American intellectual property and criticizing its treatment of religious minorities.

But Pence directed some of his harshest words at Nike and the NBA, accusing them of siding with China's Communist Party over freedom of Speech in Hong Kong.

(SOUNBITE) (ENGLISH) VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE SAYING: "Nike stores in China actually removed their merchandise from its sales to join the Chinese government in protests against the Rockets general manager 7- word tweet...And some of the NBA's biggest players and owners, who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country, lost their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of the people of China." Pence also voiced support for protesters in Hong Kong.

(SOUNBITE) (ENGLISH) VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE SAYING "To the millions in Hong Kong who have been peacefully demonstrating to protect your rights, we stand with you." Despite the critiques - the Vice President held out an olive branch.

(SOUNBITE) (ENGLISH) VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE SAYING: "We are not seeking to contain China's development, we want a constructive relationship with China's leaders." American and Chinese negotiators are schedule to speak by phone on Friday, while President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping are set to meet next month in Chile.

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