Tuesday, 25 February, 2020

Blizzard bans player, rescinds prize money over support of Hong Kong protests

Blizzard suspended Hearthstone player Chung ‘blitzchung’ Ng Wai Enlarge Image Hearthstone player Chung'Blitzchung Ng Wai Twitter
Cecil Davis | 09 October, 2019, 15:25

In his post-game interview, Chung donned a gas mask in support of the Hong Kong protesters and shouted "Liberate Hong Kong". While Hong Kong is part of the country of China, the two regions have maintained a strict policy called "One Country, Two Systems" for several years.

When he said that, the interviewers hid under the table for a moment and then they cut to a commercial. As punishment for what was said during the interview, blitzchung has been removed from Grandmasters from the year and will receive no prize money from the entirety of the second season.

Why it matters: Blizzard's action sends a message that the company is serious about enforcing its tournament guidelines, which prohibit participants from engaging in any act that brings them "into public dispute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages" the California-based company's image. We have yet to hear back.

Many other players have taken now to social media to complain about Blizzard "caving in" to China.

The protests against Blizzard extended to the official broadcast of the 2019 Hearthstone Collegiate Champs, where the American University team revealed the sign following a defeat.

Great ideas can come from anywhere. Morey posted and quickly deleted a tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters, prompting the Chinese Basketball Association to announce it will suspend cooperation with the Rockets.

The move highlights the complex politics that non-Chinese companies must navigate when operating in the country. It is a bind that many Western companies have found themselves in. While the city government backed down from plans to enact the laws, the liberation movement of the Hong Kong citizens who protested the laws escalates. Surely a gentle non-public warning about not making political statements in an interview would have sufficed? I will not support Blizzard anymore'.

Angela Merkel comprehensively rejects Boris Johnson' Brexit offer, writes Robert Peston
Donald Tusk , the European council president, tweeted directly at Johnson: "What's at stake is not winning some stupid blame game".

No wonder gamers are hopping mad. Blizzard added that the two hosts conducting the interview were also fired.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden shared on Twitter, "Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party". Marco Rubio tweeted: "Recognize what's happening here".

In recent days, China has been using its economic power to pressure Western companies into censoring pro-Hong Kong speech. "Implications of this will be felt long after everyone in US politics today is gone".

The People's Daily newspaper said the app was an endorsement for "rioters".

According to Bloomberg, a small stake of Activision Blizzard - the parent company of Blizzard Entertainment - is owned by the Chinese holding company Tencent and Ng believes the games developer could be bowing to Beijing's world view by silencing him.

Blizzard faces the very real prospect of a boycott in the USA for its spineless actions against a revered gamer who achieved a level of skill and success that most gamers aspire too. I bought most of its games.