PES 2020 Has Removed German Arsenal Star Mesut Özil After Player Criticizes the Chinese Government

PES 2020 Has Removed German Arsenal Star Mesut Özil After Player Criticizes the Chinese Government
Credit: eFootball PES via YouTube

Pro Evolution Soccer has made the controversial move to remove star Arsenal player Mesut Özil from the game. This action comes as a result of Özil’s outspoken social media message against the Chinese government for their treatment of Uighur Muslims.

Over the last year, multiple rights groups have spoken against the Chinese government over the mistreatment of millions of civilians, the bulk of which are believed to be Uighurs. Özil, a Turkish-born Muslim, spoke in favor of these rights groups, criticizing the Chinese government’s concentration camps and the reported ethnic cleansing that is taking place. In the same statement, Özil criticized other governments and Muslim groups that have failed to speak out.

“They burn their Korans. 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,” Ozil wrote in his post, speaking in Turkish. “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?”

In response, China’s government insisted that Özil had been “misled by fake news,” fitting their strategy of constantly denying the existence of any concentration camps or any mistreatment of their civilians, regardless of ethnicity.

Özil is among the biggest names in sports at the moment, having won the 2014 World Cup with the German national team. The midfielder is also one of the stars of the London-based team, Arsenal, of whom have been having one of their worst seasons in decades thus far.

Speaking of Arsenal, the team has distanced themselves from Özil’s statements. In their own announcement, they claimed to be maintaining their policy of staying out of politics.

Arsenal’s statement is fine, but they are fast to jump onto political statements that they know that the general public may approve of. They are a strong supporter of the Rainbow Laces movement, which seeks to end homophobia and improve LGBT rights. This is a fantastic cause, and they do well to support it – but where is the line drawn?

Many fans of the sport (and of Arsenal and Özil themselves) have been stating that the team is only distancing themselves from Özil because China is a powerful source of income.

Özil also hasn’t been removed from all versions of the game. PES has only removed him from the Chinese version, leaving him playable in other regions.