Blizzard Entertainment Bans Professional Gamer For Pro-Hong Kong Protest

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

Blizzard made a decision to ban Hong Kong-based professional gamer Chung Ng Wai, who plays under the name "Blitzchung", after its Asia-Pacific Grandmasters tournament Monday. He's receiving no prize money for Grandmasters Season 2, has been removed from the league and has received a competitive ban for one year.

Blizzard Entertainment said it was banning Ng Wai Chung, also known as Blitzchung, from its professional Hearthstone esports competition for a year. "My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention", Blitzchung said in a statement. Blizzard have also stopped working with the two casters involved in the interview.

"I will never play Blizzard's game from now on, unless they apologize to blitzchung and to HK people". Customers are boycotting the company, and declaring their support for Chung and the pro-democracy demonstrators through the #BoycottBlizzard hashtag - including numerous posted screenshots showing Blizzard products deleted from their personal computers. It added it was taking the necessary actions to ensure similar incident didn't happen again. The player will be unable to participate in Hearthstone eSports until October 5th 2020.

We'd like to re-emphasize tournament and player conduct within the Hearthstone esports community from both players and talent.

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In an interview with popular gaming site IGN, Chung said that while he thought Blizzard's action was "unfair", he has no regrets about speaking out, saying, "I shouldn't be afraid of these kinds of white terror". While the city government backed down from plans to enact the laws, the liberation movement of the Hong Kong citizens who protested the laws escalates. If the Chinese government outlaws anything related to Hearthstone - essentially scrubbing it from existence throughout the entire country - Blizzard stands to lose untold profits. "But I think it's my duty to say something about the issue".

Tellingly, Tencent is also a partner of the National Basketball Association, which is in crisis after the Houston Rockets' general manager, Daryl Morey, faced a major backlash in China for tweeting in support of the Hong Kong protesters on Friday. At Blizzard headquarters, anonymous employees have covered up decor that reads "think globally" and "every voice matters".

Activision Blizzard joins a number of worldwide companies embroiled in controversy around free speech linked to China. Gods Unchained, a Hearthstone competitor in the collectible card game genre, has vowed to restore all of Blitzchung's lost earnings and to give him entry into their upcoming $500,000 tournament. Chinese tech giant Tencent's minority stake (under 4.9 percent) in Activision Blizzard doesn't help public perception, even if it's not necessarily a factor.

Blizzard faces the very real prospect of a boycott in the USA for its spineless actions against a revered gamer who achieved a level of skill and success that most gamers aspire too.

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