English Premier League side Arsenal has distanced themselves from comments made by midfielder Mesut Ozil about the plight of Uighur Muslims.
Ozil had criticised China amid allegations that the minority has suffered religious and ethnic persecution at the hands of Chinese authorities.
Ozil went to Instagram to express his displeasure and said: "(In China) Qurans are burned, mosques were closed down, Islamic theological schools, madrasas were banned, religious scholars were killed one by one. Despite all this, Muslims stay quiet."
But to prevent the damage that was about to be done on their Chinese market, Arsenal in a statement on Weibo said: "Regarding the comments made by Mesut Ozil on social media, Arsenal must make a clear statement.
"The content published is Ozil's personal opinion. As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics."
There have been several angry replies to Arsenal's post on Weibo. One showed a shredded Ozil shirt next to a pair of scissors, while another called for the footballer to be expelled from the club.
The UN and human rights groups estimate that up to two million people, mostly Uighur Muslims, have been detained in harsh conditions in Xinjiang but China has repeatedly denied any mistreatment of Uighurs.
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