SHANGHAI (AFP) – Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has been deleted from Chinese versions of the popular Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) mobile game, the title’s China distributor has said, as the fallout builds over his criticism of the country’s treatment of its Uighur minority.
Chinese Internet company NetEase said it removed Ozil from the game due to his “extreme comment about China”.
Ozil, a German national of Turkish origin, condemned the treatment of minorities in the western region of Xinjiang in a tweet last Friday and criticised Muslim countries for failing to speak up about the alleged abuses.
Arsenal has distanced itself from his comments, while China said his tweets were “untruthful” and that he was “deceived by fake news”.
Meanwhile, German club FC Cologne pulled out of a football academy in China, citing a re-evaluation of “resources and priorities”.