Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has been excluded from the 2020 version of Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) in China following his criticism of the country’s treatment of ethnic Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang.
In Twitter and Instagram posts, the former Germany international called Uighurs ‘warriors who resist persecution’ after a United Nations report suggested more than one million Uighurs had been detained in internment camps, while also accusing the Chinese government of burning The Quran and tearing down mosques.
China hit back at his claims, with the country’s foreign ministry saying he had been ‘blinded and misled’ and invited him to the region after the country’s state broadcaster CCTV had taken the dramatic step of scrapping planned live coverage of Arsenal’s match against Manchester City on Sunday.
On his Instagram and Twitter pages, the German midfielder had spoken out about China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims.
Ozil’s comments come after the UN released a report that China is holding one million Uighurs in ‘secret internment camps’.
Konami, the Japanese developer of the game, has yet to make a comment.
The news is just the latest demonstration of Chinese fury against Ozil, who was described as ‘shallow and narrow-minded’ in a Global Times article.
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There have also been reports of fan pages of Ozil being removed by online search engines and social media footage of football fans burning and defacing shirts bearing his name.