The government of China "abruptly moved on Thursday to tamp down public anger at the NBA," according to reporting from the New York Times. There were concerns beginning to surface "that the rhetoric was damaging China's interests and image around the world."

Editors at state news outlets have told reporters to avoid emphasizing the NBA issue.

“I think this issue will gradually de-escalate — Global Times will not push to keep it hot,” Hu Xijin, the newspaper’s top editor, wrote in an electronic response to a request for comment. “I also hope the American side won’t make any moves to escalate it.”

The issue began with a Tweet from Daryl Morey about Hong Kong.