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Traces of Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil's name have been removed from the internet in China after the German spoke out about the treatment of the Uighur minority are being treated in the country.
Ozil spoke out strongly against China's persecution of the Muslim Uighur community of Xinjiang and slammed Muslims for not doing more to highlight the issue.
"Thank you, Mesut Ozil, on behalf of 35 million oppressed" pic.twitter.com/J6oSJrMEbM- Mustee_Gwandu:evergreen_tree: (@Iam_Musteey) December 15, 2019
As a result of his comments, Arsenal's visit of Manchester City was pulled from TV channel CCTV in China and according to The Athletic, his 30,000-strong M10 fan club in the country has been shut down, while his pages on Chinese social media sites Weibo and Douyin have been wiped.
What's more, Baidu, one of the main search engines in the country, have completely erased him. According to The Global Times, the Chinese FA said: "Ozil's comments not only hurt his Chinese fans but also hurt the feelings of the Chinese people."
Taking to Instagram to express his opinion, the former Real Madrid man wrote: "East Turkistan, the bleeding wound of the Ummah, resisting against the persecutors trying to separate them from their religion.
"They burn their Qurans. They shut down their mosques. They ban their schools. They kill their holy men. The men are forced into camps and their families are forced to live with Chinese men. The women are forced to marry Chinese men.
"But Muslims are silent. They won't make a noise. They have abandoned them. Don't they know that giving consent for persecution is persecution itself?"
Arsenal have since released a statement, distancing themselves from Ozil's viewpoints.
"Regarding the comments made by Mesut Ozil on social media, Arsenal must make a clear statement," the statement read.
"The content published is Ozil's personal opinion. As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics."
Ozil was substituted in the second half of Arsenal's 3-0 loss to Manchester City yesterday, reacting angrily and kicking his gloves after exiting the pitch.
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