The Chinese authorities have maintained up to one million Uyghurs, and possibly more, in indoctrination camps aimed at drastically weakening their commitment to Islam. They close their mosques. "Their schools are banned, but the Muslim community is silent", said the player, who is often seen praying on the field. They kill their holy men.
The Chinese government reportedly ordered that all data relating to the camps were to be saved on computers that were disconnected from the internet to prevent hackers from getting in.More news: Los Angeles Kings travel to Detroit to take on the Red Wings
"The content he expressed is entirely Ozil's personal opinion", the official account of Arsenal Football Club said on Saturday in a post on China's Twitter-like Weibo platform. "Arsenal, as a football club, has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics".
The U.S., the United Nations and various human rights groups have accused China of detaining an estimated one million ethnic Muslims in so-called "re-education camps" in the remote Western province of Xinjiang in an attempt to force them to renounce their religion and heritage.
In addition, the Chinese Football Association said Ozil's comments were "unacceptable" and had "hurt the feelings" of Chinese fans.More news: Scientists Reportedly Sending Weed to Space Aboard SpaceX
Replies to Arsenal's Weibo post were angry, with one showing a shredded Ozil soccer jersey next to a pair of scissors and others demanding he be expelled from the club.
In October, tensions erupted between China and the American basketball league after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted an image in support of demonstrations in Hong Kong.
China has repeatedly denied any mistreatment of Uighurs and has dismissed the New York Times report as a "media conspiracy to slander China's terrorist effort". On this occasion it's targeting Ozil and to a limited extent Arsenal.
A few weeks ago I asked someone who is an expert on China-UK relations if the Premier League could face an "NBA moment" if or when a player criticised China in public.More news: Indians send Kluber to Texas for DeShields, Clase