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UPDATE: Blizzard has broken their silence on the controversy. They’re returning Blitzchung’s winnings to him, and lowering his suspension to six months.
Fans boycott Blizzard Entertainment after the company suspended Hearthstone eSports gamer Chung Ng Wai aka “Blitzchung”, who’s a Hong Kong native after he spoke out in support of the Hong Kong protests. Blizzard Entertainment removed him from the tournament, took away his $10,000 prize money, and suspended him for a year. The incident occurred on Oct. 6 in Taiwan during the Asia-Pacific Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament. During the official Hearthstone Twitch stream of the event, Chung was interviewed by two eSports casters when he voiced his opinion. Blizzard not only suspended Chung, but they also terminated the two casters interviewing him. Chung wore a mask during the interview because Hong Kong has banned wearing masks in public.
Chung said, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” during the Twitch stream. This is a slogan used in Hong Kong for the protest. What’s disturbing about Blizzard suspending him, is the fact that they’ve bowed to China’s censorship.
Why Hong Kong Residents Are Protesting?
Residents of Hong Kong are protesting because mainland China is trying to exert control over its democratic political system. The British handed over Hong Kong to Beijing in 1984. This happened under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. At that time China had promised to grant Hong Kong autonomy. Ever since then, the Chinese Communist Party has tried to exert its control of Hong Kong by trying to make things less free and less fair. They’ve also tried to take over Hong Kong’s politics.
The United States has treated Hong Kong as a separate entity from China since 1992. Under the 1992 Hong Kong Policy Act, the US treats Hong Kong differently in matters of trade. Now, China is exploiting the US’s trade deal with Hong Kong to get around the US export controls, customs duties, and sanctions. For America, it’s become an issue of National Security because the Chinese government is also conducting influence and espionage operations.
According to Blizzard, Chung violated their Terms of Service (ToS) by speaking out.
Blizzard released this statement regarding the suspension:
Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters…
Chung made a statement on his personal Twitch account:
“Today I lost Hearthstone, it’s only a matter of four years,” he said. “But if Hong Kong lost, it’s a matter of a lifetime.”
Boycott Blizzard- Why You Should Care?
Fans have shown their support for Chung and the Hong Kong protests by canceling their game subscriptions. We should care because freedom and democracy are being threatened. As an American, it breaks my heart to see Blizzard giving in to China’s censorship. Blizzard has core values that they ‘claim’ to represent. A few Blizzard employees covered them up yesterday.
Not everyone at Blizzard agrees with what happened.
Both the “Think Globally” and “Every Voice Matters” values have been covered up by incensed employees this morning. pic.twitter.com/I7nAYUes6Q
— Kevin Hovdestad (@lackofrealism) October 8, 2019
Fans also expressed support by boycotting Blizzard and canceling their game subscriptions.
— Slimp (@SlimpBTW) October 9, 2019
Don’t let @Blizzard_Ent get away with doing what they did. We need to remind them that basic human rights goes before money! Spread the word keep sharing keep this alive to remind them that they can’t get away with shit like this #BoycottBlizard
— Penguin ペンギン (@halobeast2545) October 9, 2019
— Grievous Reborn (@RebornGrievous) October 9, 2019
How Is Blizzard Connected To China?
Blizzard is connected to a Chinese gaming company called Tencent. Tencent is the world’s largest gaming company. It’s on the scale with Facebook and Google in terms of internet and Entertainment. Tencent is considered one of the world’s largest social media companies. Their many services include social networks, web portals, music, internet services, mobile games, payment systems, e-commerce, smartphones, and multiplayer online games. Now Tencent only owns a 5% stake in Activision Blizzard which means they technically have no power of company decisions, but Tencent is the major entertainment source in China. Tencent hosted Call of Duty Online. In 2012, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick announced the strategic partnership with the company.
Kotick said in a Activision Blizzard press release in 2012:
“We are very excited about our relationship with Tencent and the opportunities of gaming in China. We think China is one of the most exciting places in the world for us to grow our business and to develop innovative new games.”
Companies Besides Blizzard Who’ve Come Under Fire
Large corporations like Blizzard, the National Basketball Association (NBA), and Tiffany and Co. have sold out to China. The NBA was also in the news this past weekend, because a fan Sam Wachs and his wife, showed up to a Well’s Fargo Center in Philidelphia with masks and signs. They held up the sign which read “Free Hong Kong”. Security rushed over to them, and let them know they couldn’t voice political opinions at the game. The game was between the Guangzhou Loong Lions and the Philidelphia 76ers. Guangzhou Loong Lions is a Chinese team.
“They told me ‘no politics. I asked why and they told me not to give them a hard time. A little after the signs were taken away, I stood in my seat and chanted “Fee Hong Kong” until security escorted us out.”
Tiffany and Co. incited controversy when they posted an advertisement that appeared to support Hong Kong protestors. The jewelry company has since removed the post. Chinese model Sun Feifei was featured in the Ad. She wore a Tiffany ring and covered her right eye with her hand. Hong Kong protestors began covering one eye after two women suffered eye injuries from dealing with the police. Tiffany and Co. are claiming the Ad wasn’t political, and that the Ad was actually photographed months ago. Supporters of China posted on Weibo, which is China’s equivalent of Twitter, to let Tiffany and Co. know that they felt the timing of the advertisement was inconsiderate.
“In no way intended to be a political statement of any kind”
Blizzard Boycott – What Should The Fans Do?
Blizzard, the NBA, and Tiffany and Co. are on the wrong side of history. I understand it’s all about money, and from a business perspective, this makes companies beholden to the countries in which they do business. What they need to remember is that people come first. There’s no amount of money which makes it okay to suppress freedom. The boycott Blizzard was brought on themselves.
A famous saying states that money is the root of all evil. Big business has sold their souls to make more millions, but they’re forgetting about the consumers who make their business what it is. As consumers, we have to take a stand and decide what’s most important to us. No video game is worth innocent lives being lost, or their freedoms being denied. Companies need to find other ways to make money than relying on the Chinese market.
How To Show Support
To show support for the Hong Kong protestors we can continue to speak out. You can visit FreeHongKong.org for more information on how to help Hong Kong. On the website, you can pledge support for two important bills making their way through Congress. The Hong Kong Policy Reevaluation Act of 2019, and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act are some of the best ways to take action. Our lawmakers hold the power to try and make a change. The Hong Kong Policy Reevaluation Act of 2019 will make hold China accountable for trying to circumvent US law. With the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, this will require the US to identify people who’ve been abducted by the Chinese government. You can read more about these two proposed bills, and how they may help at FreeHongKong.org.
Another way you can help is by sending a message to major corporations who’ve sided with China. Money talks, and if businesses are worried about losing it, then they may take action. Boycott Blizzard and let American companies know that we’re not going to stand by and watch innocent people suffer. Rest assured that companies will listen if they’re afraid of losing money. Don’t stay silent because you’re afraid of backlash. We live in America and should exercise our freedom of speech. Be sure residents of Hong Kong know that we stand with them. In the future, maybe more companies will wake up and not make the same mistakes. They must remember that people always come first not millions.
Before You Go…
Please leave a comment below with your thoughts. Do you feel Blizzard was wrong? What are you doing to support Hong Kong? Also, don’t forget to share this article to Twitter and other social media sites using social media icons.
Thanks for hanging out at my Hearth. If you’d like to stick around, then be sure to check out the possible World of Warcraft expansion leaks, should the best music in World of Warcraft have its own orchestra tour, the best addons in WoW Classic, the Seven Best Quest Chains in WoW Classic, and World of Warcraft developer update for patch 8.3.
Spyells is a published author and blogger. She’s played World of Warcraft since the Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Geeking out over Warcraft, Disney, Kingdom Hearts, and Harry Potter is her favorite thing. She enjoys traveling and loves to cook. On most days you can find Spyells in Azeroth exploring it’s many wonders and protecting its ancient lands.
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