Blizzard bans player, rescinds prize money over support of Hong Kong protests

Blizzard has become the latest in a long line of American companies to seemingly cave to the interests of Chinese censorship.

Massive gaming company Blizzard banned a pro player and rescinded his prize money after he expressed support for the Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters.

After making a statement in support of the 2019 Hong Kong protests during a “Grandmasters” competition for the video game Hearthstone, pro player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai has been removed from the tournament by Blizzard. The company also ruled that he’s “ineligible to participate in Hearthstone esports for 12 months.”

Blizzard, the company behind both the game Hearthstone and the competition, said in a statement that Blitzchung had broken a rule.

They say the rule broken was “engaging” in an act that “in Blizzard’s sole discretion” brings into “public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public or otherwise damages” Blizzard’s image.

It is important to note that Blizzard is partly-owned by a Chinese company named Tencent.

According to Cnet.com, as of 2017, the company owned 4.9% of shares in Activision Blizzard. It also has stakes in video game companies like Ubisoft, Epic and Riot Games among others.

The Hong Kong protests, initially focused on a now-suspended bill that would have allowed people arrested in Hong Kong to be transferred to and tried in mainland China, have been ongoing since March 2019, and are now more focused on general democratic rights

Blitzchung declined to comment but said before the ban, in a statement sent to InvenGlobal, that he felt it was his “duty to say something about the issue.”

Blitzchung was removed when during the tournament he wore a mask similar to ones worn by protesters in Hong Kong, and shouted, “liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our age!”

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.