Pence Backs Hong Kong Protests in China Speech, Slams NBA and Nike

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday accused China of curtailing “rights and liberties” in Hong Kong and blasted U.S. company Nike and the National Basketball Association for falling in line with Beijing in a disagreement over free speech.

In a major policy speech on China that touched on an array of disputes ahead of talks with Beijing to ease a trade war, Pence said the United States does not seek confrontation or to “de-couple” from its main economic rival.

But he pulled no punches when addressing some of the political rifts between the two countries.