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Mesut Özil. Photo: Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

China’s state broadcaster CCTV, the primary distributor of English Premier League soccer in the country, pulled a match between Arsenal and Manchester City on Sunday after Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil criticized Beijing for its mass detention of Uighur Muslims, the Financial Times reports.

The backdrop: Özil, a Turkish-German soccer player, denounced China on Twitter and Instagram for persecuting Uighur minorities in Xinjiang province, while also calling out Muslim-majority countries for their silence.

What they're saying: "Korans are being burnt. Mosques are being shut down. Muslim schools are being banned. Religious scholars are being killed one by one,” Özil tweeted in Turkish. “Despite all this, Muslims stay quiet."

  • Arsenal distanced itself from Özil's comments on Saturday, saying in a statement on the Chinese app Weibo: “As a football club, Arsenal has always followed the principle of not interfering in politics,” according to FT.
  • The Chinese Football Association told local media: "What Ozil said has clearly hurt his Chinese fans and Chinese people in general. It is unacceptable.”

The big picture: This isn't the first time a Western sports team has come under fire for its response to China's human rights abuses. In October, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted an image expressing support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, setting off a chain of events that included Morey apologizing and the Chinese government demanding the league take disciplinary action.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
59 mins ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.

2 hours ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.