China’s foreign ministry has accused a German football player of being deceived by “fake news” after he spoke out against the Chinese government’s treatment of Uygurs in the country’s far western region of Xinjiang . On Monday, ministry spokesman Geng Shuang invited Mesut Ozil, who plays for English Premier League team Arsenal, to visit the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to see its “stable political situation and economic development” for himself. “I don’t know if Mr Ozil has been to Xinjiang. But his eyes seems to have been covered by some fake news and his judgment affected by falsehoods,” Geng said. The comments came after Ozil posted pictures on Twitter and Instagram on Friday, accusing Muslims of staying silent over the mistreatment of the Uygur Muslim minority in China. The post referred to Xinjiang as East Turkestan – a term used by many Uygurs for the region – and accused the Chinese authorities of burning Korans, shutting mosques and mass internment of the Uygur people. The Chinese government has detained upwards of a million Uygurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang, according to a United Nations report . Other aspects of life such as attending prayers in mosques have been curtailed. Beijing says the detention centres are training facilities and part of an effort to curb religious extremism. Arsenal tried to distance itself from Ozil, with the club saying on Saturday morning on the Twitter-like Weibo platform that Ozil’s social media posts were his own personal opinions. The football club did not get involved in politics on principle, the post said. But, the backlash was immediate. China Central Television scrapped a live broadcast of an Arsenal match against Manchester City on Sunday, opting instead for a pre-recorded game between Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bloomberg reported. Chinese internet users also took aim at Ozil and demanded that Arsenal take action against its star player. “Your player is supporting extremism,” one Weibo user wrote. The response was similar to the backlash after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted a now-deleted tweet that said: “Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong.” The Chinese Basketball Association and Chinese sportswear brand Li-Ning suspended cooperation with the Rockets. Tencent Sports also suspended broadcasts of NBA games, resuming them about two weeks later except for those involving the Rockets.