Blizzard has banned professional Hearthstone player Ng Wai “blitzchung” Chung after he publicly showed support for Hong Kong during a stream. Protests against China have been taking place in Hong Kong since March 31 and protesters currently have five demands.
- Complete withdrawal of the extradition bill from the legislative process.
- Retraction of the “riot” characterisation.
- Release and exoneration of arrested protesters.
- Establishment of an independent commission of inquiry into police conduct and use of force during the protests.
- Resignation of Carrie Lam and the implementation of universal suffrage for Legislative Council and Chief Executive elections.
Originally the protests were only in regards to the extradition bill, which would allow local authorities to detain and extradite criminal fugitives who are wanted in territories with which Hong Kong does not currently have extradition agreements, including Taiwan and mainland China. People were concerned that the bill would subject Hong Kong residents and visitors to the mainland Chinese jurisdiction, undermining the autonomy of the region and its civil liberties.
For voicing his support, Blizzard announced that Chung, who is from Hong Kong, was in violation of the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition rules. Blizzard says it will remove him from the Grandmasters and he will not receive prize money for his performance in Grandmasters Season 2. He’s been banned from Hearthstone eSports for a year and both casters have been fired.
Blizzard is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard. China’s largest tech conglomerate Tencent owns a 5% stake in Activision Blizzard, which was worth a reported $2.5 billion in 2018. Additionally, Blizzard’s Overwatch League currently has four teams in China.
The NBA also saw itself in a similar position this week, putting money before human rights after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted on Friday (and then deleted) an image with the slogan “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” The NBA issued a statement that said it was “regrettable” that Morey’s views “deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China.”
In a similar move for censorship , this week saw South Park banned from Chinese internet, after the most recent episode Band In China mocked the country’s censorship laws. Show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone released a bankhanded apology to China.
“Like the NBA, we welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and into our hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday at 10! Long live the Great Communist Party of China! May this autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful! We good now China?”