Blizzard Entertainment Bans Professional Gamer For Pro-Hong Kong Protest

Alonzo Simpson
October 9, 2019

Apple Inc. was blasted by the Communist Party's flagship newspaper for carrying an app and song embraced by the movement.

The violation they're referring to is a post-match interview blitzchung gave, where he voiced support of democracy for Hong Kong. According to Inven Global, Blitzchung shouted, in Chinese, "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!"

"As you know there are serious protests in my country now", his statement began. He added, "My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention..."

"These games have such a vast audience that I would nearly say almost half don't even know what's happening". It could cause me a lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life.

Citing a competition rule that forbids players from doing anything to bring them into "public disrepute", "offend [ing] a portion or group of the public", or "otherwise damag [ing] Blizzard's image", the game company banned Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai from playing Hearthstone for a full year and zeroed out some $10,000 in prize money.

Additionally, blitzchung was banned from participating in official Hearthstone tournaments until October 6th, 2020. "We will also immediately cease working with both casters". "No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck". "But if Hong Kong lost, it's a matter of a lifetime".

The incident comes at a time when the National Basketball Association is enmeshed in a controversy over its relationship with China.

Tech giant Tencent and Chinese state television said they wouldn't broadcast Rockets games.

Large climate change protests in London and other cities
In London , police arrested at least 20 people Monday as protesters have vowed to close down Parliament and Trafalgar Square. Activists set up tents in Paris, occupying a major square and blocking traffic along a bridge near city hall.

A few hours after the event, Blizzard announced in a statement that while it supported free speech, players agree to abide by esports' competition official rules.

With China becoming a more important market for collectible card games (whether it's tabletop or digital) than ever before, what would happen if Lee Shi Tian or another Hong Kong-based player protest in a similar way now?

Activision Blizzard's share price had fallen by 2.3% by the close of trading on Tuesday.

There also appears to be displeasure within the company as well, with part of a statue on its campus being covered to hide the words "Think Globally" and "Every Voice Matters". Users on Reddit have called for boycotts with some users cancelling subscriptions to Blizzard's games.

Several posts with tens of thousands of upvotes from veteran players are voicing their support for blitzchung, while noting that they plan to quit the game. He's absolutely right about what's at stake here.

"You screwed up and traded your players in for dollars", he tweeted. It's not a disagreement over tax policy or social justice or any of the things people have a right to disagree about.

But the severity and speed of the decision has infuriated numerous company's customers, particularly because the protesters' causes encompass the United States' most closely held and deeply felt ethical values: freedom of speech and democracy.

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