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Mesut Özil also criticized the rest of the Muslim world for staying silent on Xinjiang-related issues. (Picture: SCMP)

Footballer Mesut Özil booted from PES 2020 in China after criticizing Xinjiang camps

China has scrapped an Arsenal game and censored information about Mesut Özil following remarks on Xinjiang

This article originally appeared on ABACUS
Arsenal football star Mesut Özil has been removed from the hit game PES 2020 Mobile in China after he criticized the country’s treatment of ethnic Uygur Muslims in the country’s western Xinjiang region. Upwards of 1 million Uygurs have been detained in internment camps in the region, according to a  UN report.
In posts on Twitter and Instagram, the German midfielder of Turkish descent called Uygurs “warriors who resist persecution.” He also accused the Chinese government of burning Korans and tearing down mosques. China’s foreign ministry said Ozil was deceived by “fake news” and invited him to see the region’s “stable political situation” for himself.
Özil’s comments sparked a huge backlash in China, with some fans burning his jersey. NetEase, which publishes PES games in China, posted on Weibo that Özil will be removed from three existing mobile games under the PES (Pro Evolution Soccer) franchise, including the highly popular PES 2020 Mobile. The company said Özil’s comments had hurt the feelings of Chinese people and that it doesn’t “understand, accept, or forgive” the player’s behavior.

Konami, the Japanese developer of PES games, has yet to comment on the situation. China has censored most information about Mesut Özil’s remarks. State television also scrapped a live broadcast of an Arsenal game over the weekend following the incident.


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