Özil’s anti-China post smack of extremism

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/16 16:28:40

Mesut Özil of Arsenal reacts after being fouled during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Everton at Emirates Stadiumin London, Britain on Dec. 8, 2013. The match ended with a 1-1 draw. Photo: Xinhua

Turkish-German soccer star Mesut Özil posted malicious accusations against China's Xinjiang policy on Twitter last Friday, which triggered indignation among Chinese netizens. China Central Television Sports Channel cancelled a live broadcast of a Premier League match involving Özil's club Arsenal on Monday. Earlier, Özil's Chinese fans also closed an online discussion platform about him.

Özil's tweet intended to instigate the Islamic countries to confront China over Xinjiang issue. To vent his extremist mood, he poetized his malicious remarks, preached about so-called East Turkistan and called on "jihadists who resist the persecution". 

His post also spread rumors about China's policy on Xinjiang. He claimed that "Qurans are burned", "Religious scholars were killed one by one" and "the sisters are forced to marry Chinese men". Such mindless rumor is something that even the most anti-China Western media outlets would not dare to make up. Özil posting nonsense on his Twitter mirrors his lack of the basic responsibility as a public figure. 

How should we respond to this incident? On the one hand, his huge influence as a soccer star makes it hard for people to ignore his misleading post; on the other, it also seems unnecessary to seriously reason with someone who is so shallow and narrow-minded.

What he did clearly speaks for himself - a muddleheaded and reckless person who can easily abuse his influence. Fortunately there are not many athletes like him, otherwise sports world would be much messier than it is today. 

Özil not only damaged his own image among Chinese fans, but also dragged Arsenal into the mire with him. How can Chinese fans of Arsenal put up with someone who hates China so much when they watch Arsenal matches? Arsenal probably is angrier than Chinese fans, but it cannot say much in Western rhetoric. It makes sense to say no team would like to be involved in politics. 

Since his post targeted China, most Western media outlets covered the issue with schadenfreude. His instigation of the Islamic world is what many Western elites would like to see. However, his appeal to "jihadists" is also chilling to Westerners, which is also the reason why the Western media did not publicly praise him in the beginning. 

We hope Western media outlets not take delight in the issue too much. Özil's post is full of pan-Turkism and Islamic fundamentalism, which can be counted as hate speech, which is also seen as disruptive in the Western world.

Chinese people should be fully aware that what Özil did is a clown show. It is necessary to criticize his post, but there is no need to make a big issue out of it. That post is more like a bruise, which takes no time to heal. 

The truth is Islamic countries did not stay silent on the issue of Xinjiang. In July, countries including Egypt and Saudi Arabia jointly wrote a letter to United Nations Human Rights Council, publicly supporting China on its Xinjiang policy. Their standpoint cannot be easily changed by a Twitter post. 

Özil is not helping the Muslim world, but instead he is being used as a puppet by Western anti-China forces. Even so, his value to the West is also limited.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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