İrem UZUN -TDO- China has cancelled a screening of an Arsenal football match after the team’s star midfielder criticized the treatment of Uighur Muslims. The Global Times, China's national English language newspaper, reported on Sunday that the match would not be broadcast on CCTV 5 because Mesut Ozil's remarks had "disappointed fans and football governing authorities".
Ozil, a German of Turkish origin, condemned China’s crackdown on Muslim minorities in the western region in a tweet on Friday, while criticizing Muslim countries for failing to speak up against abuses. Ozil’s posts called Uighurs “warriors who resist persecution” and criticized both China’s crackdown and the silence of Muslims in response. He wrote in his posts on Friday: "(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".
Arsenal tried to distance itself from the comments on Saturday. The north London club shared a post from its official account on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform, which read: "The content he expressed is entirely Ozil's personal opinion. As a football club, Arsenal always adheres to the principle of not being involved in politics".