TSM Kripp calls for Blizzard to reconsider Hong Kong Hearthstone bans

Ruben Fields
October 12, 2019

Following a match at the Hearthstone Grandmasters event, Ng Wai Chung - who plays under the handle "blitzchung" - spoke on the official Taiwanese stream for the event to support protestors now fighting heavy-handed involvement from the Chinese government, particularly the proposed introduction of the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill which, critics claim, would give mainland China authority to detain Hong Kong residents and visitors in a direct attack on the region's autonomy and the civil liberties of its citizens.

Blizzard announced that Chung would be immediately removed from its Grandmasters esports tour, banned from Hearthstone esports for 12 months, and will have his prize money of $10,000 rescinded.

Cherish the NBA, Blizzard is heavily invested in China through its Overwatch League and it has sought to steadiness these commercial interests with the factual to free expression. In a subsequent tweet, Kern also acknowledges Blizzard's position, saying the studio is "in a hard situation".

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The news has now founs its way on various non-gaming publications including The Daily Beast, The Guardian, BBC News, CBS News, and CNBC.

"Hearthstone" player Ng Wai Chung, also known as "Blitzchung" in the game, was banned by Blizzard following the "Hearthstone" Asia-Pacific Grandmasters tournament. Disgruntled fans have taken to adopting the image of Mei, a character of Chinese nationality in Overwatch, as a mascot for the "Free Hong Kong" protests, with the intention of having the game banned in China.

Sweeney added he would "absolutely" never ban a Fortnite player for making political statements despite being partially owned by Chinese giant Tencent.

Blizzard is under fire for punishing a professional Hearthstone player from Hong Kong over his support for the current Hong Kong protests.

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Pro-democracy demonstrators protest in Hong Kong on October 4, 2019. The ongoing protests have already garnered worldwide attention, with the territory's increasingly complex relationship with China's communist government as a core issue.

Jayne reportedly told the Dallas Morning News that he was instructed to delete the tweet, and it disappeared within a few hours of appearing online.

So far, Blizzard has yet to respond to the ongoing controversy.

Many Hearthstone personalities, such as Brian Kibbler, have been vocal about Blizzard's actions.

Ironically, Jayne was told he must remove the very tweet that called Blizzard out on their censorship. I am opposed to Blizzard's fear of China and the silencing of Blitzchung.

That kind of appeasement is simply not something I can in good conscience be associated with. According to the IGN translation, the Blizzard account run by Netease said, "Also, we will protect [or safeguard] our national dignity [or honor]". Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen.

"Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party", Wyden tweeted. "No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck". Blizzard's titles past year made up just over 30% of Activision's overall $7.2 billion in sales. Protesters held up umbrellas, which have been adopted as a symbol for "Free Hong Kong" protests that are now ongoing.

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