Blizzard suspends pro gamer from competition over Hong Kong comments

Blizzard has removed Blitzchung from Grandmasters and banned him from competing in Hearthstone following his on-stream Hong Kong protest

A professional Hearthstone player from Hong Kong, Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai, was suspended from the Grandmasters tournament by Blizzard for sharing a statement of support for people now engaged in protests against the local police and government in Hong Kong. An American esports company called Blizzard Entertainment, creators of World of Warcraft, cracked down on a winning player yesterday after he offered his support to Hong Kong protesters.

During the interview, Blitzchung wore a face mask on camera to show his support for the Hong Kong protestors who have been doing it to protect their identities, and it's also a reference to the government-issued ban on wearing masks while protesting. Luxury brands including Versace, Coach and Givenchy have all fallen afoul of Beijing's demands to refer to both Hong Kong and Taiwan as parts of its territory and not suggest they are independent.

Once the production team of the stream realized what was happening, they quickly cut to a commercial.

They say the rule broken was "engaging" in an act that "in Blizzard's sole discretion" brings into "public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public or otherwise damages" Blizzard's image. As of 2017, the company owned 4.9% of shares in Activision Blizzard. We have yet to hear back. It now boasts more than 100 million players.

Blizzard has a set of eight "core values" that the company says "represent the principles and beliefs that have guided our company throughout the years".

Great ideas can come from anywhere. Blitzchung defended his political stance and explained the risk he took in standing up to China. These are normally worn to help resist the effects of tear gas being lobbed at protesters by the Hong Kong Police Force. It is a bind that many Western companies have found themselves in. It was then that the fallout from Blizzard over the Hearthstone Hong Kong controversy began.

No wonder gamers are hopping mad.

OR senator Ron Wyden chimed in by saying "Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party".

"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. "Implications of this will be felt long after everyone in US politics today is gone".

Blitzchung was also stripped of his prize money. Many fans are now calling for a boycott of Blizzard's most popular titles. And, unlike the National Basketball Association, there are many more games companies that people can turn to - with the tap of a button.

Blizzard said they "stand by one's right to express individual thoughts and opinions", but they remained firm on the fact that players and other participants "must abide by the official competition rules".

No one believes it.

Gamers at Blizzard's annual BlizzCon conference in 2018.

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