Blizzard Suspends Hearthstone Pro for Supporting Hong Kong Protests

A screenshot from the game Hearthstone

A screenshot from the game Hearthstone

Activision Blizzard on Tuesday kicked a video game player out of a professional esports tournament after he voiced support for Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters, becoming the latest US business moving to head off potential conflict with the Chinese government. And it is that calculus that Blizzard executives clearly considered when banning Blitzchung. "Blizzard sucks", one person wrote on a forum discussion thread called 'Solidarity with Blitzchung, Censored by Blizzard'.

There's a lot of public protests in Hong Kong right now, and it started earlier this year when Hong Kong announced plans to enact laws that would allow China to extradite Hong Kong citizens for judiciary reasons.

Parker and Stone's comment referred to yet another Hong Kong-related controversy, which surrounds Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets' general manager.

The NBA isn't the only organization eager to punish anyone who dares to defy communist China.

The interview saw Blitzchung, who himself is from Hong Kong, wearing a mask and stating: "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times", while the casters in question ducked behind their desk. The player also received a 12-month ban from the game's professional events.

More news: French officials criticize United States over announced military pullback in Syria
More news: Google is cracking down on new phones launching without Android 10
More news: Sania Mirza confirms her sister's marriage with Azharuddin's son

"We will, as always, resolutely safeguard the country's dignity", the official Hearthstone account on Chinese microblogging site Weibo posted.

The blowback was immediate.

The decision was extraordinary, not just because of its swiftness and severity, but because it goes directly against gaming culture and indeed Blizzard own clearly stated "core values" - values it feels so strongly about that it had all eight of them cast in bronze and placed around a statue at its headquarters in California. In the USA, an influential former Blizzard employee, Mark Kern, rebuked the company. This isn't about one esports player you've never heard of before now. The player will be unable to participate in Hearthstone eSports until October 5th 2020.

"South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were also targeted by the Chinese government after an episode of the satirical cartoon last week lampooned self-censorship by Hollywood studios to gain access to China's vast consumer market. For the same reason all of the woke voices in the National Basketball Association have had nothing to say about Hong Kong this week, they are in business with mainland China. What would Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast do if China threatens to ban MTG in China and Hong Kong? In a statement to InvenGlobal, he said "As you know there are serious protests in my country now".

According to Cnet.com, as of 2017, the company owned 4.9% of shares in Activision Blizzard. Fans on the now-closed Blizzard subreddit were lighting the company up over this decision, saying they would no longer be playing Hearthstone or any of the company's games.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.