In a stark reality check for online gamers in America, Activision Blizzard has suspended professional Hearthstone player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai for a show of support for the protests in Hong Kong. Blitzchung was accused of breaking tournament rules and was originally suspended for 1 year, removed from the Grandmasters and lost all his prize money. And they also fired the 2 newscasters that hosted Blitzchung’s protest. This was considered extremely heavy-handed by the online community who saw it as an attack on free speech by Activision Blizzard. However, following a massive outcry on social media, that saw the hashtag BoycottBlizzard trending on Twitter, Blizzard has decided to reduce his ban to 6 months and return all of his prize money.
This was after a Blizzard representative contacted Blitzchung to talk about the situation, after which Blizzard decided to reduce the ban and return his prize money. Blitzchung responded to Blizzard’s overnight statement, saying “In the future, I will be more careful,” and said he was “grateful” the company had reduced his ban from one year to six months. “To be honest six months is too long for me.” Then: “I wish Blizzard would reconsider the penalty of the two casters.”
Also, the NBA found themselves in hot water with China following the general manager of the Houston Rockets, Daryl Morey, publishing a tweet voicing his support for Hong Kong protestors. The tweet included an image bearing the words: “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Chinese companies that partner with the NBA responded by suspending their ties to the league, worth $4 billion. China’s consulate general in Houston urged the NBA to “correct the mistake”.
The NBA caved almost immediately by saying it regretted Mr. Morey’s remarks and he did not represent the league or the Rockets. “We are extremely disappointed in the inappropriate remarks made by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey.” Daryl Morey was also forced to apologize saying he’d had a chance to “hear and consider other perspectives” in Hong Kong since his original post. The NBA also started to kick fans out of pre-season games for bringing along signs supportive of the Hong Kong protesters.
The protests in Hong Kong sparked following a new ruling that would allow the extradition of criminals from Hong Kong to mainland China in clear violation of the agreement in 1997 when China regained Hong Kong from the UK. The heavy-handed approach of the Hong Kong police was very reminiscent of the treatment of the Yellow-vest protests in France, with Macron’s riot police maiming and beating dissidents in protests that have lasted nearly a year.
This all comes at a time when Trump’s United States is embroiled in a vicious trade war with China. With the battle for 5G worldwide likely hinging on the outcome of the problems in Hong Kong. Trump has heavily sanctioned Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, in favor of the sale of Straight Path to Verizon that gave Armis (Mossad) a monopoly on 5G in the U.S, which also removed the opposition to nationalize 5G. The American-Israeli IDT Corporation certainly stands to profit from a negative outcome in Hong Kong and or China.
Gamers, furious with Blizzard's capitulation to China have decided to use Overwatch character Mei in memes and political posters as a symbol of the Hong Kong protests. This was in no small part due to the activism of former Blizzard producer Mark Kern, who worked on games like vanilla World of Warcraft, Diablo 2 and Starcraft.