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Barcelona ace Griezmann cuts ties with Huawei over persecution of Uyghurs

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France and Barcelona forward Antione Griezmann (Bleacher report)
France and Barcelona forward Antione Griezmann (Bleacher report)

By Tenzin Dharpo

DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 11: French World Cup winner and Barcelona forward Antione Griezmann announced he is parting ways with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei for its role in facilitating the Chinese government’s persecution of the Uyghur people of East Turkestan (Xinjiang).

“Following strong suspicions that Huawei has contributed to the development of a ‘Uighurs alert’ through the use of facial recognition software, I am immediately ending my partnership with the company,” Griezmann said in an Instagram post on Thursday.

“I am taking this opportunity to invite Huawei to not just be happy with denying these accusations but to implement action as quickly as possible to condemn this mass persecution and use its influence to contribute to respecting rights of men and women throughout society,” the footballer added.

The move seen as the footballer taking a stance against a powerful nation was welcomed by many including Uyghur activist Jewher Ilham whose father Uyghur economist Ilham Tothi languishes in Chinese prison on a life sentence for separatism charges.

She told Al Jazeera that she had “huge respect” for Griezmann, and others who have spoken in favour of Uyghurs, like footballer Mesut Ozil and singer Zara Larsson, adding that they are “willing to choose their conscience over the money”. “We know how hard of a step this could be. And I’m afraid [Griezmann] may face retaliation for his action,” she said.

Independent observers say that close to a million Uyghur ethnic Muslim minorities from East Turkestan are held in massive concentration camps all over so-called region of Xinjiang under policies deliberately imposed by Beijing.

Beijing has denied any wrong doing despite international rights groups and governments condemning China for the persecution of Uyghurs. Beijing’s repressive policies have seen Muslims in the region being forced to eat pork and shave their moustaches, tenets that are prohibited in the practice of Islam.

One Response

  1. I deeply respect for his stand toward Uyghur people. Ozil is big example and other football players & celebrities, specially Muslims should support the rights of Uygur peoples and end Beijing’s repressive policies.

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