China welcomes Ozil to Xinjiang to debunk fake news: FM

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/12/16 17:23:07

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

Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday that Arsenal's Turkish-German football player Mesut Ozil seems to have been deceived by fake news about China's Xinjiang and welcomed him to the region to see a real Xinjiang after the footballer sparked a backlash for referring to Xinjiang as "East Turkistan."  

Xinjiang is an inalienable part of China. In Chinese history, Xinjiang has never been called "East Turkistan", let alone the so called "East Turkistan State." Ozil must have been blinded by some fake news and untrue comments, Geng shuang, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at Monday's press conference. 

Ozil doesn't know that all Chinese including Uyghur people's religious freedoms are being protected, and that Xinjiang has not seen a violent terrorist attack for three consecutive years, Geng said. 

"I can tell him, Xinjiang enjoys political stability, economic development, ethnic unity and social harmony. We welcome Ozil to travel around Xinjiang and have a look. As long as he has a conscience, knows right from wrong and upholds the principle of objectivity and justice, he will find a Xinjiang that's different from what he thought," Geng noted. 

In his posts on Friday on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Ozil referred to China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as "East Turkistan," a separatist term advocated by the UN-listed terrorist organization the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), and made groundless accusations and false narratives about China's policies in Xinjiang. 

China's state-run China Central Television (CCTV) and online broadcaster PPTV stopped airing Arsenal's game against Manchester City on Sunday, as Ozil's comments hurt his Chinese fans but also hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. 

The Chinese Football Association (CFA) expressed strong indignation and disappointment over the Turkish-German player's comments. The CFA said in a statement sent to the Global Times on Saturday that the "East Turkistan" that Ozil referred to on his social media accounts is not an ethnic or religious matter, but a matter of separatism, terrorism and extremism, which is being spurned by peace-lovers all over the world.

Global Times

Posted in: SOCIETY

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