Mesut Ozil's free speech on China must be preserved, even if Arsenal stay silent

By Nicholas Bequelin
Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 1:38 pm
UpdatedTuesday, 17th December 2019, 2:01 pm

Arsenal footballer Mesut Ozil’s social media post about the political situation in Xinjiang has prompted an angry response from the Chinese authorities.

Ozil's accusation that China is persecuting the predominantly Muslim Uighur minority has been dismissed by Beijing as “fake news”. Meanwhile, a Gunners match was pulled from the state TV schedule and Chinese football fans have reportedly burned Arsenal shirts in protest at the player’s comments.

Amnesty International has extensively documented the situation in Xinjiang over the past several years. We have interviewed more than 400 people outside of China whose relatives in Xinjiang are still missing, as well as individuals who said they were tortured while in detention camps there. We also collected satellite photos of the camps and analysed official Chinese documents that detail the mass-internment programme. This is what is really happening.

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