As Simon Chadwick, a professor of sports enterprise at Salford University who specialises in China, puts it: “The world is in the midst of an ideological battle: western liberalism versus eastern authoritarianism. And sport is one of the front lines.

Craven Arsenal abandon Mesut Özil over his stance on China’s Uighur persecution | Sean Ingle

The midfielder is in tune with a United Nations panel and human rights groups over the imprisonment of millions of Uighurs but the club chose to raise a white flag