China is in the midst of a bitter falling out with the United States on a range of fronts, including human rights, trade and Hong Kong.
“The NBA has had no involvement with the Xinjiang basketball academy for more than a year, and the relationship has been terminated,” Tatum wrote in the letter, which was confirmed as genuine by an NBA official.
More than one million ethnic Uighurs and other minorities, mostly Muslim Turkic peoples, have been herded into Xinjiang internment camps where they undergo political indoctrination, according to human rights groups and experts.
The existence of the camps had been revealed in recent years and appear aimed at taming long-time opposition by many Uighurs — marked a spate of violent incidents — over political and religious repression by Beijing.
The NBA’s lucrative broadcast and merchandise interests in China — the league’s most valuable market outside of the United States — went into a tailspin after Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet regarding Hong Kong protesters last October.