mandag 16. desember 2019

Mesut Özil row: China's Arsenal fans burn shirts in anger at Xinjiang post

Chinese football fans have burned Arsenal football shirts and called on the club to fire star player Mesut Özil after he publicly criticised China’s treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang.

On Friday, Özil, who is usually quiet on social media, posted a message on his Instagram profile describing Uighurs in the far north-western region of China as “warriors who resist persecution”. Posting the words against the backdrop of the flag of the short-lived East Turkestan republic, an area that is now Chinese-controlled Xinjiang, he wrote: “[In China] Qurans are burned, mosques were closed down, Islamic theological schools, madrasas were banned, religious scholars were killed one by one. Despite all this, Muslims stay quiet.”

His comments have prompted a wave of anger in a country where Arsenal is hugely popular. Özil, who has more than 4 million followers on the Chinese microblog Weibo, is affectionately known as “272”, numbers that when pronounced sound like his name. China’s foreign ministry said on Monday that Özil had been “deceived by fake news.”