Chinese State Media Won't Show NBA Preseason Games Following Rockets GM's Tweet About Hong Kong

China's state-run television network CCTV announced that it will be suspending broadcasts of preseason NBA games played in the country, as businesses in the country bristle at comments made by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey about Hong Kong's ongoing protests.

In a statement Tuesday, CCTV said: "To this end, CCTV Sports Channel decided to immediately suspend the current broadcast arrangements of the NBA preseason (China games) and immediately investigate all cooperation and exchanges involving the NBA."

Tencent, the multinational that owns digital streaming rights for league games, also said it would "temporarily suspend" the games.

The protests—which began in June over an extradition bill that have since evolved and persisted—centered on thorny discussions of Hong Kong's autonomy and political arrangements between Beijing and the former British colony. The tenor of the uprisings escalated last week, when police shot an 18-year-old demonstrator in the chest and the government invoked a colonial-era anti-mask law.

The NBA was thrown into the political storm surrounding the protests last week, when Morey tweeted: "Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong." He has since walked back the comments, but some Chinese businesses responded quickly, suspending ties with the NBA.

The league's response to Morey's tweet, which has inflamed tensions in a key basketball market, has generated its own backlash in the U.S.

"We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable," the NBA said in a statement released Sunday. "We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together."

Lawmakers from both parties offered a rare display of bipartisanship in their responses, depicting the NBA's response as an affront to free expression.

"The NBA wants money, and the Communist Party of China is asking them to deny the most basic of human rights. In response, the NBA issued a statement saying money is the most important thing," Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse said.

"I stand with the people of Hong Kong in their pursuit of democratic rights. I stand with Americans who want to voice their support for the people of Hong Kong. Unacceptable," New York Senator Chuck Schumer tweeted.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has offered a slightly different tone since the league's initial response.

"I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear... that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression," he said on Monday.

Commissioner of the National Basketball Association Adam Silver speaks during a press conference prior to the preseason game between Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors at Saitama Super Arena on October 8, in Saitama, Japan. Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images