Mesut Ozil removed from PES 2020 for criticizing China

by December 19, 2019 0 comments

Celebrity voices have a lot of power, and their stances amplify a cause. Sometimes that can land a celebrity in hot water. The most recent one is Mesut Ozil, star football player for Arsenal FC. 

Ozil has landed in trouble after he tweeted out against the alleged atrocities by to Chinese state on Uighur Muslims. In the Tweet, which is originally in Turkish, he wrote, “East Turkistan, the bleeding wound of the Ummah, resisting against the persecutors trying to separate them from their religion. They burn their Qurans. They shut down their mosques. They ban their schools. They kill their holy men. The men are forced into camps and their families are forced to live with Chinese men. The women are forced to marry Chinese men. 

“But Muslims are silent. They won’t make a noise. They have abandoned them. Don’t they know that giving consent for persecution is persecution itself?”  

This brought widespread criticism, from the Chinese government and Chinese football fans alike. The fans took to Weibo to express their displeasure, while the Chinese state officials issued statements. In one, Geng Shuang, spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said, “As long as he has common sense, can make a clear distinction between right and wrong, and upholds the principles of objectivity and fairness, he will see a different Xinjiang”. China’s state run CCTV channel also cancelled a broadcast of Arsenal’s premier league match against Manchester City. 

The backlash also spread across video games. BBC reported that Ozil has been removed from the Chinese version of Pro Evolution Soccer 2020. NetEase, the publisher of the game in China, said “The German player Ozil posted an extreme statement about China on social media. The speech hurt the feelings of Chinese fans and violated the sports spirit of love and peace. We do not understand, accept or forgive this.” 

In their statement, Arsenal tried to distance themselves from his statement. They said, “Regarding the comments made by Mesut Özil on social media, Arsenal must make a clear statement,” it read. “The content published is Özil’s personal opinion. As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.” 

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