Blizzard Entertainment, Ng Wai “Blitzchung” Chung is a professional player from Hearthstone who supported the Hong Kong protests against China in an interview after winning the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament on Sunday.
Hearthstone’s editor, Blizzard Entertainment, responded with harsh punishment, banning Blitzchung from playing the electronic game of the digital card game for a year and winning the Grand Masters cash prize.
— Telecation (@telecation) October 8, 2019
Blizzard also says it will not work with the two pitchers who covered the event, who literally squatted behind his desk when Blitzchung expressed his support for the Hong Kong rally. As a general rule, players are banned from the Blizzard eSports for cheating. But Blitzchung did not cheat.
Blizzard’s message is clear. Do not criticize the Chinese government, otherwise, we will punish you.
This echoes what is happening in the NBA, which is trying to make peace with China after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has supported the Hong Kong protests on Twitter. The NBA is popular in China, especially the Rockets, thanks to the story of Chinese player Yao Ming with the team, but the government controls most of the country’s media. That’s why they have the power to do things like take the NBA out of the television.
Tencent is the largest video game company. The Chinese media conglomerate owns 5% of Activision Blizzard, the parent company of Blizzard. To start your games in China, you have to work with a Chinese company. For Blizzard also has a partnership with NetEase, a Chinese company that operates its games in the country.
Tencent also holds the digital transmission rights for the NBA. After the tweet was removed from Morey, Tencent announced that it was “temporarily suspending” its pre-season NBA shows. That’s what Blizzard fears, whether NetEase or elsewhere. And while NBA Commissioner Adam Silver today issued a statement in which he defends the freedom of expression of his employees, Blizzard did the opposite in dealing with the situation.