Blizzard suspends pro gamer from competition over Hong Kong comments

Blizzard Suspends Hearthstone Player For Hong Kong Support, Pulls Prize Money

Blizzard Suspends Hearthstone Player For Hong Kong Support, Pulls Prize Money

It's the latest example of how a popular sport has been dragged into tensions over the months-long political unrest. Then on Tuesday, the company announced it had suspended Blitzchung for violating Heartstone's official esports rules, which can penalize a player for offending a "portion or group of the public" or causing damages to Blizzard's image.

Not content with censoring the content, Blizzard also banned Chung from competitive Hearthstone play for 12 months, and even went so far as to cut ties with the post-game announcers who interviewed Chung, even though they literally hid behind their desks as Chung was making the comments.

But Blizzard has made a decision to remove Blitzchung from the Grandmasters program following his pro-Hong Kong statements during a post-game interview. He wore a mask that the protesters used and said "Liberate Hong Kong".

Inven Global, a website that covers esports and gaming news, reports that Blitzchung shouted the phrase in Chinese. These are normally worn to help resist the effects of tear gas being lobbed at protesters by the Hong Kong Police Force.

The two casters who were interviewing Blitzchung have effectively been removed from consideration of working with Blizzard again in the future, although it's not as simple as it may seem at its face.

The collectible card game's developers, Blizzard, determined the player violated a competition rule. Blizzard will also not work with the two casters in the video anymore.

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We'd like to re-emphasize tournament and player conduct within the Hearthstone esports community from both players and talent.

"As you know there are serious protests in my country now. My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention", he said.

I've not seen any pros participating in the boycott at the moment, though CCG pro Brian Kibler tweeted that he's being thinking about the situation and will have more to say soon.

The status of Hong Kong is a sore subject for the Chinese government. While Hong Kong is part of the country of China, the two regions have maintained a strict policy called "One Country, Two Systems" for several years.

Blizzard end their ruling by saying "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". Basketball is a constantly growing market in China, and the Rockets are one of the most popular teams ever since Chinese center Yao Ming became an global superstar in the early 2000s.

"South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were also targeted by the Chinese government after an episode of the satirical cartoon last week lampooned self-censorship by Hollywood studios to gain access to China's vast consumer market.

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