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Arsenal star Mesut Ozil has been removed from eFootball PES 2020 in China following his comments on the Muslim situation in Xinjiang province in China. The world-renowned football player of Turkish descent took to Twitter to express his disappointment and to call for more awareness of the poor situation of Uighur Muslims in the region.
Ozil calls for higher awareness
Giving Ozil’s reputation and worldwide reach on social media, his message quickly spread and reached news outlets all over the world.
Here's the translation: pic.twitter.com/MkyMwz4J8F
— IlmFeed (@IlmFeed) December 13, 2019
The English Premier League player described the situation of Muslims in the region of Xinjian province, which may also be referred to as East Turkestan. “The brothers are forced into the camps. Chinese men are settled in their families instead of them. The sisters are forced to marry Chinese men.”
He also quoted the words of Hadhrat Ali, a prominent Muslim religious figure, “If you cannot prevent persecution, make it known publicly!” And so Ozil did just that. Moreover, the star criticized “Muslim countries and their media” for not drawing enough attention to the issues in the region.
China strikes back
China is a country known for not taking such allegations lightly. The news spread like wildfire across the country, involving common people, the media, as well as the government in taking a defensive stance against the allegations.
When it comes to video games, Ozil has been completely removed from eFootball PES 2020, which is published by NetEase in the China region. NetEase said that, “The German player Ozil posted an extreme statement about China on social media… we do not understand, accept, or forgive this.”
The player has only been removed from the Chinese version, but given the popularity of the video game in China, Konami may be pressured into removing the player entirely in the future. This would be a massive blow for Konami, given that they try their best to include as many licensed teams and leagues as possible to compete with EA’s FIFA series.
As for the player himself, if ever a situation arises for him to enter the country, it will be an extremely tough barrier that he may not be able to overcome.
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