Hearthstone gamer banned for Hong Kong protest

Blizzard has removed Blitzchung from Grandmasters and banned him from competing in Hearthstone following his on-stream Hong Kong protest

Chung spoke to the official Taiwanese Hearthstone organization wearing a gas mask in protest after his victory against South Korea's Jang "DawN" Hyun Jae.

The broadcast has since been deleted, but Inven Global has a mirror on Twitter, which you can watch below.

Regardless of this situation, TheSixthAxis stands with the people of Hong Kong.

USA video gaming company Blizzard Entertainment has suspended a Hong Kong-based player for expressing support for the ongoing pro-democracy protests in the city, the latest example of a foreign company curbing free speech in an attempt to appease the Chinese communist regime.

The decision was extraordinary, not just because of its swiftness and severity, but because it goes directly against gaming culture and indeed Blizzard own clearly stated "core values" - values it feels so strongly about that it had all eight of them cast in bronze and placed around a statue at its headquarters in California.

"Grandmasters is the highest tier of Hearthstone Esports and we take tournament rule violations very seriously", Blizzard wrote. Blizzard will also not work with the two casters in the video anymore. It was then that the fallout from Blizzard over the Hearthstone Hong Kong controversy began. Anxious that inaction would come off as implicit support for Blitzchung, Blizzard made its allegiances explicitly known by banning a man who voiced his support for individual freedoms and human rights.

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After the interview, Blizzard announced on the Hearthstone blog that it was removing Blitzchung from the Grandmasters tourney, stripping him of his winnings, and banning him from competing in any Hearthstone esports competitions for the next year.

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 portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image [sic]".

Blizzard's statement further claimed, "While we stand by one's right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules". I know what my action on stream means.

Social media swelled with support for Chung and anger against Blizzard, which is 5 percent owned by Chinese software company Tencent. It could cause me lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. Yesterday, South Park was scrubbed clean from Chinese internet after the episode "Band In China" criticized the communist government's censors.

Tencent Sports has said they will no longer stream Rockets games because of the uproar over the pro-Hong Kong comments. "But I think it's my duty to say something about the issue". "I expected the decision by Blizzard, I think it's unfair, but I do respect their decision".

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