NetEase to remove Arsenal football star from PES 2020 in China

Player made comments to social media regarding the treatment of Uighur Muslims in the country

NetEase to remove Arsenal football star from PES 2020 in China

Arsenal football player Mesut Özil will be removed from Chinese versions of Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 (PES) after criticising the treatment of Uighur Muslims in the country.

As reported by the Independent, PES 2020 Chinese publisher NetEase explained its reasoning for the withdrawal of the sportsman via a post of social media platform Weibo.

Özil was speaking out (via Instagram and Twitter, below) against the Chinese government after a United Nations report claimed that more than one million Uighurs were being kept in internment camps.

China's foreign minister Wang Yi accused the Germany footballer of being deceived by "fake news", while the official Arsenal account commented that the content expressed is "entirely Özil's personal opinion".

China backlash

"The speech hurt the feelings of Chinese fans and violated the sports spirit of love and peace," read a statement from NetEase.

"We do not understand, accept or forgive this!"

Outside of China, PES 2020 is developed by PES Productions and published by Konami. The game is available to purchase on iOS, Android, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. reached out to Konami regarding NetEase's decision, however the firm declined to comment on the matter.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that the mobile version of PES 2020 had generated more than 200 million downloads.

Deputy Editor

Matthew Forde is the deputy editor at and also a member of the Pocket Gamer Podcast. You can find him on Twitter @MattForde64 talking about stats, data and everything pop culture related - particularly superheroes.