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Mesut Ozil Announces Exit from the German National Team on Weibo

Ozil’s exit from the German team has stirred discussions from Twitter to Weibo.

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Mesut Ozil’s withdrawal from the German national team has not just sparked debates across Europe, but also in China, where Ozil announced his resignation on Sina Weibo.

On July 22, German football player Mesut Ozil issued a lengthy statement on his personal Twitter account, in which he announced his resignation from the national team.

According to his Twitter statement, which was retweeted more than 100,000 times within two days, his resignation comes after the massive renouncement of Ozil after he posted a photo of himself with Turkish President Erdogan, along with him receiving blame for Germany’s disappointing World Cup.

Ozil accused the German football federation, fans, and media, of racism and double standards in the treatment of him as a German soccer player with Turkish roots, writing he would “no longer be playing for Germany at international level whilst I have this feeling of racism and disrespect.”

Ozil, who is of Turkish descent, said he will never wear the German team’s jersey again.

The controversial photo of Erdogan and Mesut was taken at a London event in May earlier this year. Ozil stated that he had met Erdogan previously in 2010, and that the picture was taken with “no political intentions.”

The football player said that he has “two hearts,” “one German and one Turkish,” and that taking a photo with Erdogan was about “respecting the highest office of my family’s country.”

The German football association (DFB) has since responded to Ozil’s allegations of racism, saying they “emphatically reject the DFB being linked to racism.”

 

Taking a picture with Erdogan will always have political implications.”

 

Besides Ozil’s 23+ million followers on Twitter, the popular footballer also has more than 850,000 fans on his official Weibo account, where he also published his recent statement. After a day, it received some thousands of likes, responses and shares, and also became a much-discussed topic on various news accounts on Weibo.

Weibo responses to Ozil’s statement have been mixed: while many Weibo users side with the football player and blamed the Germans for being “racist,” others call Ozil a player who is “not loyal” to Germany and the national team.

“I will always be with you and support you. I hope you can be happy and free from worry,” some Ozil fans commented.

“Stand with Özil❤️❤️❤️Say no to racism,” others wrote.

However, not all Weibo users support Ozil’s position: “This is purely an act of stupidity. Turkey was interfering with the German elections. Taking a picture with Erdogan will always have political implications. Ozil refused to sing the German anthem in the games. He is stepping on two boats. He deserves to be kicked out of the team. That has nothing to do with winning or losing,” a Weibo user named @PlanetDaily wrote, along with other netizens who called out Ozil’s lack of loyalty to the team and country he played for.

“Let’s think about it in the Chinese context: suppose Ozil is a football player from Xinjiang and plays for the Chinese national team. And then all of a sudden he meets Erdogan and takes a picture. He now says that he is proud to be a Turkish rather than a Chinese. What would you think?”, a Weibo user nicknamed “Mao Zedong excerpt always in my hand” wrote.

“Erdogan is the enemy of Europe. He is a dictator purging oppositions in the name of religion. Ozil is wrong in meeting him already. As there are many Turks in Germany there is a deeper political implication for Erdogan to meet with Ozil. As a German national team player, Ozil should recognize this,” a popular comment said.

“He was a hero in 2014, he’s the bad guy in 2018,” another top commenter wrote, referencing to Mesut Ozil’s great success during the 2014 World Cup.

But besides those who support and attack Ozil, there are also many Chinese commenters who feel that there eventually is only one person who profits from Ozil’s football exit, and that it is President Erdogan. Many say that he used the star footballer for his own political strategies.

“Of course it has great impact when a celebrity footballer poses with Erdogan. Football is football, and politics are politics, but this all creates much confusion when a footballer like Ozil poses with a dictatorial ruler,” Weibo user @Kined wrote.

For hundreds of Chinese Ozil fans, however, their love for him has nothing to do with politics: “I will support you no matter what. I will support your decision. Wherever you are, I hope you will be happy.”

By Chauncey Jung and Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Chauncey Jung is a China internet specialist who who previously worked for various Chinese internet companies in Beijing. Jung completed his BA and MA education in Canada (Univ. of Toronto & Queen's), and has a strong interest in Chinese trends, technology, economic developments and social issues.

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China World

Meng Wanzhou “Back to the Motherland,” Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor Return to Canada

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Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟) is coming home to China. It has been nearly three years since the CFO of Huawei, and the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei (任正非), was first detained in Canada during transit at Vancouver airport at the request of United States officials.

Meng Wangzhou was accused of fraud charges for violating US sanctions on Iran. Ever since late 2018, Chinese officials have been demanding Meng’s release and called the arrest “a violation of a person’s human rights.” Meng was under house arrest in Vancouver while battling extradition to the United States.

At the same time, in December of 2018, Canadian national Michael Kovrig was detained in the Chinese capital by the Beijing Bureau of Chinese State Security. Kovrig, who is known as Kang Mingkai (康明凯) in Chinese, served as a diplomat in Beijing and Hong Kong until 2016, and then became a Hong Kong-based Senior Adviser at the International Crisis Group, where he worked on foreign affairs and global security issues in Northeast Asia.

Kovrig was accused of espionage in China, although many called the arrest a case of “hostage diplomacy” (“人质外交”). In late 2018, Kovrig’s case went trending on Chinese social media. Although many online discussions were censored, popular comments said: “You take one of ours, we take one of yours” (more here).

Also detained in December of 2018 was the Canadian Michael Spavor (迈克尔‧斯帕弗), a China-based consultant and director of Paektu Cultural Exchange, an organization promoting investment and tourism in North Korea. In August of this year, a Chinese court sentenced Spavor to 11 years in prison after declaring him guilty of spying, while Kovrig had still been awaiting a verdict in his case.

Michael Spavor (left) and Michael Kovrig (right).

Now, as announced by Canadian PM Trudeau on Friday night, the two Michaels and Meng are free and on their way home. Meng was discharged by the Supreme Court in British Columbia after an agreement was reached with American authorities to resolve the criminal charges against her. While Meng boarded a flight to Shenzhen, Kovrig and Spavor were heading back to Canada.

On the Chinese social media platform Weibo, Meng’s return to China became the top trending topic of the day. “Meng Wanzhou About to Return to the Motherland” became the no 1 hashtag (#孟晚舟即将回到祖国#), receiving 1.5 billion views by Saturday afternoon (CST).

State media outlet People’s Daily was one of the main accounts pushing hashtags related to Meng. They also released the hashtag “Meng Wanzhou Just Updated her Moments” (#孟晚舟刚刚更新朋友圈#), referring to a social media post by Meng on WeChat, in which she wrote that she was on her way home to China and just crossing the North Pole, adding “under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, our motherland is becoming glorious and flourishing; without a strong motherland, I would not have had my freedom today.”

State media also issued online images featuring Meng, welcoming her back home after 1028 days.

While Meng’s return triggered thousands of posts and comments on Weibo, the release of Kovrig and Spavor did not get nearly as much attention on Chinese social media – it also was not reported on social media by any Chinese official media accounts at time of writing.

In some online discussions on Weibo, commenters called the release of Kovrig and Spavor an “exchange” or “a business deal,” with others writing: “This is better, as long as Meng returns home, it’s alright.”

Meng Wanzhou’s detainment became one of the biggest topics on Chinese social media back in 2018, and it sparked anti-American sentiments – many netizens expressed how the United States was allegedly using the judicial system in a battle that was actually all about politics.

A political satire image of Meng Wanzhou being rescued by the Chinese authorities as an American shark is trying to eat her alive also circulated on Chinese social media this weekend. The image (“归舟”) was created and posted by digital artist Wuheqilin (乌合麒麟), who also welcomed Meng back home.

Meanwhile, some social media users in China have started a countdown to Meng’s arrival, tracking the flight on live tracking maps. Her CA552 plane is scheduled to arrive in Shenzhen at 21:14 local time, September 25.

By Manya Koetse (@manyapan)

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©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Digital

Key Players, Digital Trends & Deep Dives: China Internet Report 2021

SCMP just launched its latest China Internet Report. (And What’s on Weibo readers can get a 30% discount on the Pro Edition!)

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As China’s tech sector has been facing an ongoing crackdown by Beijing regulations, a lot has been changing in the country’s digital environment over the past year. The new China Internet Report 2021 by SCMP gives an overview of the latest trends and developments.

When it comes to China’s online landscape, nothing ever stays the same. Over the past year, political, economic, and social developments and measures have once again changed the Chinese digital environment.

Giving a comprehensive overview of the key leaders and major trends dominating the Chinese online field, South China Morning Post (SCMP) issued its fourth annual China Internet Report.

China’s internet population has now risen to 989 million – last year’s report indicated an internet population of 904 million. By now, there are 853 million mobile payment users, which indicates that over 86% of the entire mobile internet population uses mobile as a way to pay.

As China’s internet population is still growing, and new online startups are still popping up every day, there have been tightening regulations on multiple fronts.

As laid out in SCMP’s report, regulations mainly focus on the four areas of antitrust, finance, cybersecurity, and data privacy. Regulatory actions targeting the monopolistic behaviours of China’s biggest internet companies are still ongoing, and the new Data Security Law came into effect on September 1st of this year.

While Chinese tech companies are seeing increased scrutiny at home, they have also been facing intensifying geopolitical tensions between China and other countries. Over the past year, the various probes and shutdowns into Chinese companies by countries such as the US and India have meant a serious blow to the market share of Chinese apps.

Meanwhile, the SCMP report highlights the trend of various older and newer Chinese (e-commerce) apps “downplaying” their Chinese origins when entering foreign markets. Shein is a good example of this development, but other players including Zaful, Urbanic, and Cider are also experiencing more success outside of China while not explicitly marketing themselves as Chinese e-commerce apps.

Another noteworthy trend explained in the new report is how China’s shifting demographics are creating new niche segments to compete over. The COVID-19 crisis is partially a reason why China has seen an increase in senior internet users, with an increasing number of online products and content catering to the elderly.

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) even issued special guidelines earlier this year for web pages and mobile apps to carry out so-called “elderly friendliness modifications.” Since this user group is still expected to see significant growth, the “silver economy” is an area that will only become more important in the years to come.

To check out all the main trends for 2021, China’s latest internet statistics, its top tech competitors, internet companies, and more, here’s a link to the free report.

The free report is 55 pages long and gives an overview of China’s latest internet numbers and players, covers the top cross-sector trends for 2021, including the tightening regulations and the bumpy road ahead for China’s tech IPOs.

The Pro Edition of China’s Internet Report 2021, also launched by SCMP, is 138 pages long and provides a deep-dive into ten relevant sectors – featuring insightful and useful analysis, data, and case studies relating to China’s e-commerce market, content & media, gaming, blockchain, fintech, online education, healthtech, smart cars, 5G, and Artificial Intelligence.

The China Internet Report Pro Edition is priced at US$400, but the team at SCMP has kindly reached out and made it possible for us to offer a special 30% discount to What’s on Weibo readers.

You’ll get the discount by using the discount code: WHATSONWEIBO30, or by clicking this link that will automatically include your discount code.

By Manya Koetse

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us. First-time commenters, please be patient – we will have to manually approve your comment before it appears.

©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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