The 5 starters of each coast are voted by fans, the rest players are selected by NBA insiders. For the past years or decades, things have been fine. i.e. star players on winning teams usually got high votes. Those star players are usually quite talent and entertaining. As NBA was largely an U.S. centric game, though the champion has been called the World Champion. Those votes were come from U.S. fans mostly. However, as NBA is a 'global' business in these days, you can tell how David Stern, the commissioner of NBA has been salivating the Chinese market. Then, we got Yao Ming. Yao has been in the All Star Games since he joined NBA. Luckily, he is a talent and has getting more and more dominant in the center post. So, with the decline of Shaq, Yao has been voted as the starting center for the west coast for few years. Fans and critics are largely ok with that, because he is really talented in his position. If he is not the best center in NBA now, he is certainly in the top three, so it has been fine.
Nonetheless, 2009 is a different story. The cause is Yi Jianlian. He is a good player, but not a star, at least not yet. However, he is second in vote after Kevin Garrnett so far. That's not good from basketball prospective. His votes, undoubtedly mostly of them are from China. I can understand they want to see their player in All Star Games. However, they got Yao already, if they just blindly vote whoever is Chinese, that's not good. Cos, my prediction is that if Yi Jianlian is voted as a starter for the East Coast. Then, the other 4 starters and the rest players of the East will not actively pass balls to him and he will be hacked by the 4 starters and all the rest of the West (excecpt Yao, but I doubt he will help Yi out as he plays the opposite team). If you think that is not gonna happen, you will be surprise! Cos, it happened before, I remember that when Shaq was young and stupid, he verbally challenged the centers of the west in one of the All Star Game in the 90s, then he got hacked by Kakeem and David Robinson whenever Shaq wanna go to the basket, u know playing defence in All Star Games are usually a second thought, people just wanna dunk, slam and striking poster post. So, Shaq got hacked.
For Yi, he will be hacked not because what he said or what he will say, but because he will be voted blindly by the Chinese fans. Those players will punish him to show that he doesn't belong there, at least not yet. That would be embarrassing for Yi and for the Chinese. I hope that won't happen, but based on the current signs, it is very likely that will.