This week has been hectic for the Blizzard pro scene and the company itself when they banned and removed prize money for a pro Hearthstone Hong Kong player that spoke on the recent protests calling for liberation. Since then, a record amount of players have been calling for boycott and it looks like it just got even worse.
Earlier this, and North American pro Heartstone team stood in solidarity with their banned player Blitczchung, though unlike the latter, they weren't banned for their very public show of support and now they are calling Blizzard out on it.
Blizzard/TeSPA has decided not to penalize American University for holding up their sign and has scheduled their next match, but AU has decided to forfeit the match and the season, saying it is hypocritical for Blizzard to punish blitzchung but not them https://t.co/HHHeSJdPcH— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 10, 2019
”This shows Blizzard's hypocrisy in how it treats different regions. They are hesitant to suppress free speech when it happens in America, on an English language stream, but will throw casters' and players' livelihoods under the bus if they are from Hong Kong or Taiwan," said one American University pro player on a post found on Reddit. “To clarify one point, our protest was in no way comparable to Blitzchung's. He, and all Hong Kongers, are putting so much more on the line than we did. Unlike him, we also suggested boycotting Blizzard, while his message was purely in support of human rights. Yet he is the one Blizzard targeted.”
With the community calling out for more support just weeks away from BlizzCon, it's time for Blizzard to step up and stop being silent. This isn't blowing over and the longer they wait to address it, the worst it will be.
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 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.