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1. What two news stories about communist China (one a few days old; one 30 years old) did Gary Varvel combine to create this cartoon?

2. What word do you think best describes the cartoonist’s view of LeBron James’ reaction to Houston Rockets’ GM’s retweet supporting Hong Kong protestors?  [The GM retweeted the image: “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” which angered China’s communist government.]

The cartoonist thinks LeBron is:
a) hypocritical
b) uninformed
c) self-centered
d) other; your own description
Explain your answer.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.

Cartoon by Gary Varvel


1. The recent news story:

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James on Monday said Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong was “misinformed or not really educated on the situation.”  (James told reporters that Morey has the “freedom of speech” to support whatever cause he wishes. The star forward accused the Rockets executive of being self-centered in his support for the activists. “There are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others and you’re only thinking about yourself,” said James, who has a $1 billion sneaker deal with Nike. Nike factories are in China.)

A news story from 1989:

In 1989, students led demonstrations calling for freedom in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The protests started on April 15 and were violently suppressed on June 4. The communist government ordered troops with assault rifles and tanks to fire at the demonstrators and those trying to block the military’s advance into Tiananmen Square. Estimates of the death toll vary from several hundred to several thousand, with thousands more wounded.

“Tank Man” is the nickname of an unidentified Chinese man who bravely stood in front of a column of tanks leaving Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989, the morning after the Chinese military had massacred its own citizens.

The pro-democracy movement and massacre at Tiananmen Square are not taught in Chinese schools, and images and information about the event are scrubbed from the Internet by the communist government.

2. Opinion question. Answers vary.