[politics involved] Blizzard bans Hearthstone Grandmaster for Hong Kong comments

Hong Kong player Blitzchung calls for liberation of his country in post-game interview

“In unexpected turn of events during the last weekend of Hearthstone Grandmasters’ regular season. After finishing his match, Hong Kong player Ng ‘blitzchung’ Wai Chung appeared on the official Taiwanese Hearthstone stream for his post-game interview wearing a gas mask. After lifting the mouthpiece, Blitzchung shouted, in Chinese: ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!’”

“Blizzard has responded to the event, and has decided to ban Blitzchung from competing in Hearthstone for 1 year. They have kicked him from Hearthstone Grandmasters effective immediately, and have rescinded his earning for Grandmasters Season 2.”

"Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms. "

Blitzchung: “As you know there are serious protests in my country now. My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention. I put so much effort in that social movement in the past few months, that I sometimes couldn’t focus on preparing my Grandmaster match. I know what my action on stream means. It could cause me lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it’s my duty to say something about the issue.”

We’ve (in USA) also have the spectacle of the NBA cowering under pressure from China.

First off, it seems to me the protests are NOT challenging Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong per se, they are challenging an overreach aimed at suppression: Chinese government now insisting on the right to extradite legal cases to the mainland (at great disadvantage and danger to the defendants) which have up to now taken place in Hong Kong courts.

It’s only natural that any protest will become more polarizing for some people (given our tendency to lapse or create intellectual short cuts, into turning everything into a black-and-white issue) and that there would be “liberate Hong Kong” rhetoric that COULD be interpreted as sovereignty challenge. But I suspect if the Chinese government removes this extradition law, things will calm down significantly.

If companies and institutions cave in to pressure, the demands from the bully will become more humiliating.

I think this is a difficult topic for Blizzard. I wonder what pressure Blizzard has from Activision regarding this incident? Furthermore I think it’s quite “exaggerated” that they also fired both of the shoutcasters of the event? Probably for not interventing the moment? I think most of the ppl have a pretty clear opinion on this incident but I guess politics and the interests of a big company might be hard to unite… :confused:

I think it’s getting scary how China and Chinese authoritarian influence is spreading to the West. Take, for example “Apple bans Hong Kong protest location app” ( https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-49919459 ) and the whole NBA thing. If China can influence probably the largest company in the world, where is it going to end? Who knows how far their influence currently extends to, since neither Blizzard nor Apple AFAIK actually say it was due to pressure from China. Maybe even this thread could be removed due to pressure?

I don’t think you need to worry about java-gaming.org.

China is a big market for both Blizzard & Apple, hence the influence.
The same cannot be said for here :wink:

I don’t think anywhere is safe from China’s influence. It’s not like they don’t have the manpower or money.

Shoutout to epic :slight_smile: