The game, which is officially called eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 (but everyone just calls it PES), has removed one of the footballers.
The case started last week – The Guardian translated Mesut Özil‘s tweet, which says: „[In China,] Qurans are burned, mosques were closed down, Islamic theological schools, madrasas were banned, religious scholars were killed one by one. Despite all this, Muslims stay quiet.” Chinese Arsenal fans (Özil plays for this team) got mad for this, and Arsenal officially keeps a distance from him for not willing to be involved in politics. The Chinese state broadcaster (possibly the CCTV sports channel) didn’t broadcast the Arsenal-Manchester City match last week.
Now comes the video game twist (which is why we discuss it): according to the BBC, NetEase (one of the bigger Chinese tech companies…) has removed Özil from all three versions of the game, as his comments „hurt the feelings of Chinese fans and violated the sport’s spirit of love and peace. We do not understand, accept or forgive this.” What did Özil mean with his tweet? He talked about the North-Western region of China, Xinjiang, where a significant amount of Muslim people (called Uyghurs) live, and several international publications mentioned throughout the year that this region has several detention camps, and who knows what could happen to the Uyghurs inside.
Even Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, responded on Twitter:„ China’s Communist Party propaganda outlets can censor Mesut Özil’s and Arsenal’s games all season long, but the truth will prevail. The CCP can’t hide its gross human rights violations perpetrated against Uighurs and other religious faiths from the world.” Earlier this year, 23 nations (including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, and Japan) issued a joint statement, condemning the Chinese government’s detention and mistreatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province. Shortly after that, Belarus issued a statement on behalf of 54 nations (including Russia, Egypt, Bolivia, and Serbia), supporting China’s „counter-terrorism” program, describing the detention camps as „vocational education and training centres.”
The twist here is that Özil openly supports Recep Tayyip Erdogan – the Turkish president attended Özil’s wedding as a witness (to which Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany – as Özil was born in Germany – said it’s a sad thing), and we don’t know what he could have done to the Kurds in Syria.
Konami doesn’t comment on the situation. We wonder why…
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