Blizzard Entertainment Bans Esports Player After Pro-Hong Kong Comments
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Jae C. Hong/AP
Jae C. Hong/AP
Blizzard Entertainment, the bet on developer behind enormously democratic titles such as World of Warcraft and Overwatch, has banned a professional esports player from competing and taken away his respect money after he expressed support for Hong Kong ‘s protest movement. Ng Wai Chung, who lives in Hong Kong and plays under the name Blitzchung, is one of the acme players in the Asia-Pacific region for the on-line card deck game Hearthstone. Blitzchung made the gloss on an official Hearthstone broadcast on Twitch, the video recording streaming platform, after his end game in the 2019 Hearthstone Asia-Pacific Grandmasters Tournament. Blitzchung wore a natural gas dissemble and dark goggles during that interview last Sunday, evoking the gear activists have worn during months of street protests. Toward the end of the section, he shouted the popular protest chant, “ Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times ! ” In an announcement released Tuesday, Blizzard Entertainment said the player ‘s statement violated a tournament rule that prohibits any acts that “ brings you into public disrepute, offends a share or group of the populace, or differently damages Blizzard effigy [ sic ]. ” Blitzchung, a Hong Kong native who started playing hearthstone in 2015, was banned from participating in Blizzard esports for a year. He told respective media outlets that his tournament winnings, said to be $ 10,000, have been rescinded. Blizzard besides announced they will no longer work with the two min streamers who interviewed the esports player on Twitch .
After his punishment was announced, Blitzchung spoke to his fans on his personal Twitch report. “ today I lost Hearthstone, it ‘s only a matter of four years, ” he said, referring to his years playing the game. “ But if Hong Kong lost, it ‘s a matter of a life. ” The gambling community has largely denounced Blizzard ‘s actions, accusing the California company of caving in to China. Some of them besides note that Tencent Holdings Limited, a chinese conglomerate, owns a 5 % interest in Blizzard ‘s parent ship’s company .
hearthstone is not the only while of pop culture embroiled in chinese political controversy. yesterday, South Park was scrubbed clean from taiwanese internet after the episode “ Band In China ” criticized the communist government ‘s censors. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the enliven express, responded to the ban with a fake apology. “ Like the NBA, we welcome taiwanese censors into our homes and into our hearts. We excessively love money more than freedom and democracy, ” Parker and Stone wrote. “ xi does n’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all. Tune into our 300th episode this Wednesday. Long live the Great Communist Party of China ! May this fall ‘s genus sorghum crop be bountiful. ” Parker and Stone ‘s remark referred to so far another Hong Kong-related controversy, which surrounds Daryl Morey, the Houston Rockets ‘ general coach. Morey posted and promptly deleted a tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters, prompting the Chinese Basketball Association to announce it will suspend cooperation with the Rockets. After the team ‘s owner and an NBA spokesman denounced Morey ‘s statement — prompting a separate backlash in the U.S. — the league ‘s commissioner clarified Tuesday that the NBA supports detached speech.
As share of the fallout of that controversy, Tencent — which is a media spouse of the NBA in China with a deal worth $ 1.5 billion — said they wo n’t be airing Rockets games .
NPR ‘s Jingnan Huo contributed to this report. Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR ‘s News Desk .