Chinese broadcaster ‘pulls coverage’ of Arsenal vs Man City after Mesut Ozil condemns treatment of Uighur Muslims

Ozil criticised the treatment of Uighur Muslims in the country on social media

Harry Latham-Coyle
Sunday 15 December 2019 14:09
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State-run Chinese broadcaster CCTV has reportedly pulled its coverage of Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Manchester City after comments made by Mesut Ozil.

Ozil criticised the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China on social media this week before Arsenal later distanced themselves from the remarks.

Global Times, the English language national newspaper in the county, claimed online broadcaster PPTV may also pull coverage of the game after what it described as “false” comments.

“China’s State-run CCTV removed @Arsenal ‘s Sunday match against @ManCity ​from its broadcast schedule, after Arsenal star @MesutOzil1088s false comments on Xinjiang disappointed Chinese fans and football governing authorities,” Global Times tweeted.

“Online broadcaster PPTV may also stop airing the game.”

The Chinese Football Association had claimed that Ozil’s comments were “unacceptable” and had “hurt the feelings” of Chinese fans.

Ozil’s posts had called Uighurs “warriors who resist persecution” and criticised both China’s crackdown and the silence of Muslims in response.

China has repeatedly denied mistreating Uighur Muslims, though rights groups estimate that a million people have been detained without trial in high-security camps.

China says that they are attempting to combat violent religious extremism by educating people in “vocational training centres”.

Football is not the first sport to clash with the country this year.

In October the National Basketball Association (NBA) suffered significant financial losses after Houston Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for protesters in Hong Kong, with sponsorship and telecast deals suspended.

Where the Rockets were once China’s team as native superstar Yao Ming, who played centre for Houston, delivered a basketball boom in the country, merchandise featuring current stars of the team is now unavailable in Chinese NBA stores.

Popular basketball website Hupu has reportedly not published a Houston Rockets story since Morey’s comments.

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