‘Real Time’ host Bill Maher struck out at American celebrities who he said ‘kowtow’ to China on Friday night, including California-born Olympic skier Eileen Gu who is competing for China, her mother’s homeland, in this year’s Beijing Olympics.
‘Is that cool now, to choose to represent a totalitarian police state over America,’ he asked, kicking off his monologue.
‘The Olympics pretends to only be about sports but of course, the games have always been a bit of a proxy war for which country has the best system.
‘And by choosing Team China, Eileen Gu became a living symbol of China’s triumph over the west, which wouldn’t bother me so much if I thought China had triumphed over us in the ways that really matter. But they haven’t.’
‘Real Time’ host Bill Maher (left) struck out at American celebrities who he said ‘kowtow’ to China on Friday night, including California-born Olympic skier Eileen Gu (right) who is competing for China, her mother’s homeland, in this year’s Beijing Olympics.
On Friday, Gu became the first action sports athlete to win three medals at the same Winter games – under China’s flag. The 18-year-old won gold in the skiing half-pipe event with a devastating display that rose against her talented opponents and brought more glory to the Chinese team.
Her face is plastered on billboards throughout China, and she represents dozens brands including Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, as well as the Chinese milk company Mengniu and the coffee chain Luckin Coffee.
China does not recognize dual-citizenship, leading to questions about whether Gu renounced her US passport to compete there – or whether its leaders bent the rules to let her take part. The teenager has refused to comment on speculation surrounding her nationality.
Gu, 18, who was born and lives in California but represents China, became the first action sports athlete to win three medals at the same Winter games – under China’s flag
A Beijing apologist said Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai (pictured) couldn’t have been sexually assaulted by a key diplomat because of her physical stature. Maher called China ‘an authoritarian surveillance state based on “how would you like to disappear for a few months,”‘ noting ‘that tennis player [Pen Shuai] who recently vanished for a while when she said she had been raped by a government official’
Although we have ‘human rights issues right here at home,’ Maher said, ‘we’re still… a democracy based on freedom.’ Maher blasted Gu for defecting from the US team to ‘an authoritarian surveillance state based on “how would you like to disappear for a few months.”‘
‘Like that tennis player [Pen Shuai] who recently vanished for a while when she said she had been raped by a government official.’
Peng posted a 1,600-word note on Chinese social media platform Weibo accusing former Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli of forcing her to have sex with him in November last year, before suddenly vanishing from view.
She has since re-emerged in a series of seemingly contrived and orchestrated events claiming she had been misinterpreted – despite outcry from the international sporting and political community that she was being censored.
Last week, Beijing diplomat Victor Gao, vice-president of the Center for China and Globalisation, perpetuated the idea to 60 Minutes that the 36-year-old couldn’t have been assaulted by retired Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli because she’s too ‘tall and strong.’
Maher noted that, ‘while we ‘d still throw too many black people in jail… China has basically jailed an entire ethnic minority, the Uyghurs, a situation that both the Trump and Biden administrations have called genocide.’
China subjected Uyghur Muslims to genocide through forced sterilizations and abortions authorized by Beijing’s highest officials, a London tribunal found in 2021.
Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people in Xinjiang have been incarcerated without any justification, the tribunal’s chair Sir Geoffrey Nice QC said.
‘This vast apparatus of state repression could not exist if a plan was not authorised at the highest levels,’ he said as he delivered the tribunal’s findings.
The panel probing alleged human rights abuses – made up of nine lawyers and human rights experts – published their opinion after hearing allegations of torture, rape and inhumane treatment at two evidence sessions this year.
They said they was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that torture of thousands of Uyghurs had occurred, and upheld claims of imprisonment, forced transfer, enforced disappearances, rape and sexual violence, persecution and inhumane acts.
‘America is not close to that,’ Maher said on Friday. ‘And it’s a cynical dodge to pretend China’s sins should be overlooked because we all do it. No.’
In his monologue, the HBO star said that ‘no one’ talks about how China is crushing civil rights in Hong Kong because ‘so much money is involved.’
He pointed to Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who was forced to apologize in 2019 for expressing support for Hong Kong’s freedom.
‘In America, we’re supposed to root for democratic government, not apologize for it! But the NBA has a television deal with China worth a billion-and-a-half dollars. So LeBron James said Morey needed to be “educated on the situation,” the situation being, “I’ve got some shoes to sell,”‘ Maher quipped.
Maher pointed to Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who was forced to apologize in 2019 for expressing support for Hong Kong’s freedom
‘In America, we’re supposed to root for democratic government, not apologize for it! But the NBA has a television deal with China worth a billion-and-a-half dollars,’ Maher said. ‘So LeBron James (pictured) said Morey needed to be “educated on the situation,” the situation being, “I’ve got some shoes to sell.”‘
‘”Kowtow” is a Chinese word but boy, Americans have gotten good at it,’ Maher said, referencing the word for kneeling and touching the ground with one’s forehead per Chinese custom, which is used to describe acting in a subservient manner.
He lashed out at Google, claiming that the search engine sweeps aside its ‘Don’t be evil’ clause and caves to Chinese censors in order to access Chinese markets.
‘That’s the deal China offers American companies and celebrities: We’ll give you access to our billion-plus consumers as long as you shut up about the whole police-state-genocide thing. John Cena took that deal. Well, c’mon.’
‘China accounts for 34 percent of global box office and he’s a movie star now. So, like the Uyghurs, last year, he learned he needed to get some re-education. You see, John referred to Taiwan as a country as if [it] were a separate country from China, which it is!’
‘But China would like to do Taiwan what it did to Tibet and what it’s doing now to Hong Kong.’
He played Cena’s video apology to the nation, spoken in perfect Mandarin, remarking ‘ad I thought steroids shrunk your balls.’
Cena found himself at the center of the row when, during an interview on the Taiwanese network TVBS on May 8, he said in Mandarin: ‘Taiwan is the first country that can watch F9.’ [his new Fast & Furious movie].
Cena is fluent in Mandarin, having picked it up when he was touring the world as a WWE wrestler. China has long been a major market for Hollywood, but it also rakes in millions for the American wrestling industry too.
Cena, feeling the heat of the criticism from Chinese fans, recorded an apology video which he released on Weibo, where he has 600,000 followers.
He groveled: ‘Hi China, I’m John Cena.
‘I’m in the middle of Fast and Furious 9 promotions. I’m doing a lot of interviews. I made a mistake in one of my interviews.
‘Everyone was asking me if I could use Chinese – [movie] staff gave me a lot of information, so there was a lot of interviews and information.
‘I made one mistake. I have to say something very, very, very important now.
‘I love and respect China and Chinese people. I’m very, very sorry about my mistake.
‘I apologize, I apologize, I’m very sorry.
‘You must understand that I really love, really respect China and the Chinese people. My apologies. See you.’
‘When a country can make your big muscly Macho Man action star grovel in their language, you know you’re somebody’s b****,’ he bemoaned.
Cena found himself at the center of the row when, during an interview on the Taiwanese network TVBS on May 8, he said in Mandarin: ‘Taiwan is the first country that can watch F9.’ [his new Fast & Furious movie]. He groveled in fluent Mandarin on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, after the incident
‘In the original “Top Gun,” Tom Cruise wore a bomber jacket but the flags of several Asian countries that are our allies sewn on the back. Well, the flag for Taiwan has now magically disappeared for the upcoming “Top Gun: Maverick.”‘
‘Well, he used to be a maverick, now he does whatever China says.’
‘So can you really blame 18-year-old Eileen Gu, who’s already made over $31 million as the face of 23 brand products in China, for following in the footsteps of other American celebrities,’ the host mused.
‘Some of Gu’s defenders say it’s racist to ask if she’s still an American citizen and she herself won’t say. Why is that racist?
‘Why was it racist to think that COVID might have originated from a lab leak as opposed to from eating bats – besides the fact that the idea that COVID came from eating gross weird good seems way more racist and the idea that it came from a high-tech lab?’
‘Besides that, the definition of “woke” was supposed to be being alert to injustice in society. But because the “woke” now see race first and everything else never, fear of being accused of racism has given a free pass on human rights abuses to China and any other places that are perceived as non-white.’
‘If China was in Europe, would they get away with having concentration camps without more of an outcry from America?’
‘In 2020, NBA players wore jerseys that said “Freedom,” “Speak Up,’ and “Justice,” but I guess those things only matter for home games.’
‘Sorry, Uyghurs. Someone has to tell me where we got this rule that you can’t criticize China because I suspect we got it from China. Because, after all, it’s where we get everything else.’