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Salih Hudayar, a Uyghur-American, is calling for an investment boycott of the NBA team after owner’s ‘vile’ remarks
FIRST ON FOX: Uyghur-American political activist and refugee Salih Hudayar condemned comments made by venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, who claimed “no one cares” about the Uyghur genocide in China.
“He is engaging in essentially genocide denial and that needs to be addressed,” Hudayar told Fox News Digital in an interview on Thursday. “It’s very, very discouraging at the very least … to see business elites like Chamath Palihapitiya, businesses, corporations, make vile statements and … completely ignore what’s happening by saying that they don’t care.”
Chamath Palihapitiya speaks during a Bloomberg Technology TV interview at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in San Francisco, California, on Oct. 19, 2016. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Palihapitiya, who is a part-owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and a six-figure Biden donor, garnered immediate backlash after appearing on the “All-in Podcast” Saturday, when he responded to co-host Jason Calacanis addressing President Biden’s stance on Uyghur genocide in China’s Xinjiang providence.
“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, OK? You bring it up because you really care, and I think it’s nice that you care, the rest of us don’t care,” Palihapitiya said as Calacanis responded with surprise.
“I’m just telling you a very hard, ugly truth, OK? Of all the things I care about, yes, it is below my line,” he added.
Palihapitiya went on to say that he did not think the U.S. should be prioritizing human rights abuses abroad when there are political issues at home like an unpredictable economy, climate change and a “crippling and decrepit health care infrastructure.”
“Look at the number of Black and Brown men currently incarcerated for absolutely ridiculous crimes,” he continued. “I think we have a responsibility to take care of our own backyard first, and then we can go and basically morally tell other people how they should be running their own countries.”
Chamath Palihapitiya appears at the 21st annual Sohn Investment Conference in New York on May 4, 2015. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
But Hudayar, who founded the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement and serves as the elected prime minister for the East Turkistan Government in Exile group, said this observation is “in no way comparable to what is essentially a 21st-century Holocaust-like genocide.”
“You can’t compare what China’s doing to the Uyghurs to what’s happening in the United States,” he said. “As a Uyghur, I would be a million times grateful if our situation was like the … human rights [situation] here in the United States.”
Hudayar pointed out that Uyghurs are not able to protest, exercise freedom of speech or criticize elected officials “without being killed, without being thrown into a concentration camp or prison, or being called a terrorist.”
Almost immediately following Palihapitiya’s comments, the Warriors released a statement distancing themselves from the venture capitalist.
But Hudayar argued that this is not enough and called for an investment boycott of the NBA team so long as Palihapitiya remains a co-owner.
Additionally, he urged professional elites to forego engaging in business with the billionaire.
Chamath Palihapitiya takes part in the Bloomberg Business of Equality conference in New York on May 8, 2018. (Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Hudayar also suggested the NBA team was insincere in its apology and called for legal action.
Palihapitiya, a refugee himself, released a statement earlier this week that said he understood his comments were “lacking empathy,” but he fell short of issuing an apology.
“There was no mention of the Uyghurs,” Hudayar said, referring to the Warriors’ apology statement. “They’re still running away from addressing the issue of the Uyghurs, which shows there is no sincerity there.
“There needs to be legal ramifications,” he added.