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Pence takes swipe at NBA and Nike in speech on China

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Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Heritage Foundation Honors in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence took a swipe at Nike and the NBA in a speech criticizing China’s record on trade and human rights.

Pence singled out the shoe company for removing Houston Rockets merchandise from stores in China after the team’s general manager angered the Chinese government with a tweet supporting protesters in Hong Kong.

He said the NBA was acting like a “wholly owned subsidiary of the authoritarian regime” for failing to stand up to the government’s criticism of Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey.

Pence spoke Thursday at the Wilson Center in Washington as the Trump administration and the Chinese government try to negotiate a trade deal.

He sounded an alarm about China’s influence campaigns and its crackdown on free speech and other rights in Hong Kong.

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