Blizzard Suspends 'Hearthstone' Player For Supporting Hong Kong Protesters

Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment

Screengrab via Blizzard Entertainment

According to esports journalist Rod Breslau, the players felt it was "hypocritical" to not levy some punishment against them while Blitzchung waits for his year-long ban to expire.

Despite this, the overwhelming majority have taken against Blizzard's ruling and are fighting the company in various ways. A day ago, Blizzard claimed to be were "assessing the situation" after Blitzchung told Engadget that the punishment was a direct "violation of free speech".

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"Blizzard/TeSPA has decided not to penalize American University for holding up their sign and has scheduled their next match, but AU has chose to forfeit the match and the season, saying it is hypocritical for Blizzard to punish blitzchung but not them", Esports reporter Rod Breslau has declared on Twitter. Some Blizzard employees protested the decision this week too.

Blizzard had not responded to Caixin's request for comment prior to publication.

Activision Blizzard then announced Chung would be banned from play for a year and would have to forfeit the $10,000 in prize money he won in the tournament.

If you missed it, Blitzchung appeared during a live post-game interview over the weekend and, wearing a mask similar to the ones worn by the protesters, the Hearthstone pro said "liberate Hong Kong!".

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Zamora announced that he's stepping away in protest of Blizzard's decision to ban player Blitzchung for his pro-Hong Kong statement.

China's government has targeted an array of USA -based organizations, including the National Basketball Association, for perceived support of the Hong Kong anti-government protests. "Blizzard makes a lot of money in China, but now the company is in this awkward position where we can't abide by our values". Many drawings depicted Mei wearing a mask and holding an umbrella, which protesters are now using to protect themselves against pepper spray.

Over the last four months, millions of people in Hong Kong have marched to demand sovereignty from mainland China and protest increasingly poor socioeconomic conditions. The ongoing protests have already garnered worldwide attention, with the territory's increasingly complex relationship with China's communist government as a core issue.

A small group of Activision Blizzard employees gathered outside headquarters in Irvine, Calif., on Tuesday in support of Chung, The Daily Beast reported. Pressure from China for Blizzard to act swiftly and harshly.

That kind of appeasement is simply not something I can in good conscience be associated with.

Several lawmakers, including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote on Twitter.

Reactions to Blizzard's decision online has been vocal and overwhelmingly negative. Ron Wyden of OR, took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with Blizzard for seemingly caving to China. "No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck".

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