China’s global power damps criticism of Uighur crackdown

 Differing views: left to right: Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey; Joko Widodo of Indonesia and Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand © FT montage

2019-12-18

Arsenal footballer Mesut Ozil triggered an international stand-off when he criticised Beijing’s treatment of Uighur Muslims, prompting China’s state broadcaster to drop his club’s latest game in one of the Premier League’s biggest markets.

“Korans are being burnt. Mosques are being shut down. Muslim schools are being banned. Religious scholars are being killed one by one,” the Turkish-German player wrote on Twitter. “Despite all this, Muslims stay quiet.”

Muslim leaders are not the only ones to have refrained from condemning Beijing’s internment of more than 1m Muslim Uighurs in so-called re-education camps in western China. Around the world many countries have held back from criticising China, fearful of offending Beijing and suffering the wrath of the rising power.

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