The Blizzard backlash following the company's decision to ban a pro player over supporting Hong Kong continues to escalate.
As mentioned in our previous coverage, the tag #BoycottBlizzard began with a post-match interview with Hong Kong Hearthstone pro Chung "blitzchung" Ng Wai where he called for the liberation of Hong Kong from China in the midst of a massive protest going on now. In the interview, the pro player could be seen wearing a gas mask and goggles, which is the garb seen in protesters actively protesting. According to recent reports, he removed the mask and proclaimed "Liberate Hong King, a revolution of our age!" Since then, the interview has been deleted (though can still be seen below) and Blizzard has removed both the pro player's place in the league as well as his winnings.
This move immediately lit a fire under the community including fellow pro players, gamers, journalists, YouTubers, and more. Now Blitzchung's message is ringing loud and clear through yet another match, this time during last night's game with the American League:
in tonight's Collegiate Hearthstone championship, American University held up a "Free Hong Kong, boycott Blizzard" during the broadcast, which was quickly cut away by Blizzard pic.twitter.com/Y9eXtLfuGw— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 9, 2019
With BlizzCon just around the corner, it looks like the company has yet another backlash that they will have to try to overcome, but it looks like the community won't be so quick to forgive this time as more and more lend their support for Blitzchung and the protests happening in China.
For those unaware, the Hong Kong protests have been escalating since they began in June following a proposed law calling for the extradition of criminals to mainland China to be judged. This was a cause for concern by many due to the former policy that established a "one country, two systems" agreement back in 1997 regarding Hong Kong and China. Though the bill that kickstarted this all has been suspended, the protests have continued to build in a bid for freedom and liberation for Hong Kong and its citizens.
"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," Chung mentioned in a statement. "I put so much effort in that social movement in the past few months, that I sometimes couldn't focus on preparing my Grandmaster match. I know what my action on stream means. It could cause me lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it's my duty to say something about the issue."