Blizzard bans esport pro for Hong Kong support, withdraws prize winnings

Ng Wai-chung blitzchung

“Blitzchung” Ng Wai-chung

At that point, the stream cut to a commercial break.

The company has immediately removed Chung from Grandmasters and announced that he will receive no prize money from his earning on Grandmasters Season 2.

It then published its decision online citing a rule violation that allows Blizzard to ban anyone who brings themselves "into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image". We have yet to hear back. During his livestream today, he started to talk about how China censored discussions on the subject among the players in WoW Classic, claiming that players who talked about it in chat were automatically silenced. Maybe if Blizzard's stock takes a nosedive for a few weeks they'll remember American companies are expected to stand up for the most basic values they have benefitted from.

Great ideas can come from anywhere. Reportedly, the two casters encouraged Blitzchung to make his statement.

Context: Blitzchung's ban comes as the National Basketball Association deals with fallout from a similar Hong Kong-related speech issue.

It's no secret by now that the Chinese market is a very lucrative one for the entertainment industry.

These protests have evolved to now encompass a demand to stop China exerting undue influence and control over Hong Kong's political system.

"I would love to see this backfire on Blizzard & see other [Grandmaster-ranked players] opt out of playing anymore", read another comment on the same subreddit. Since March 31, there have been protests taking place in the island state.

No wonder gamers are hopping mad.

Why would a United States company be so quick to crack down on public resistance to communist tyranny? OR senator Ron Wyden chimed in by saying "Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party".

Blizzard has become the latest in a long line of American companies to seemingly cave to the interests of Chinese censorship. Senator Marco Rubio tweeted: "Recognize what's happening here. Implications of this will be felt long after everyone in USA politics today is gone".

What was perhaps most telling was the locking of Blizzard's official subreddit. Hong Kong has been part of China since the 1997 handover from British control.

Ng said Blizzard's action will cost him $10,000 in prize money that he already won in the Grandmasters tournament, according to Bloomberg. Fans have railed against Activision Blizzard's reaction, sparking the hashtag '#BoycottBlizzard' on social media and returning their games in protest. Enter Sydney studio Immutable, the makers of a blockchain-powered collectible card game, and the company pledging to repay all of Blitzchung's lost winnings.

No one believes it. I won't dignify most of those comments - a lot of which had a more general anti-Chinese air than a simple objection to the Chinese government - by saying they're all worth listening to.

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