Blizzard pulls Blitzchung from Hearthstone tournament over support for Hong Kong protests

After making a statement in support of the 2019 Hong Kong protests during a “Grandmasters” competition for the video game Hearthstone, pro player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai has been removed from the tournament by Blizzard — the company behind both the game Hearthstone and the competition.

In a statement, Blizzard said Blitzchung had broken a rule by “engaging” in an act that, “in Blizzard’s sole discretion” brings into “public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public or otherwise damages” Blizzard’s image.

“While we stand by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions,” the statement continued, “players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules.”

Blizzard is part-owned by Chinese company Tencent. As of 2017, the company owned 4.9% of shares in Activision Blizzard. It also has stakes in video game companies like Ubisoft, Epic and Riot Games among others.

The Hong Kong protests, initially focused on a now-suspended bill that would have allowed people arrested in Hong Kong to be transferred to and tried in mainland China, have been ongoing since March 2019, and are now more focused on general democratic rights

Blitzchung was removed for showing his support for these protests by wearing a mask, similar to ones worn by protesters in Hong Kong, and shouting “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”

Blitzchung declined to comment, but said before the ban, in a statement sent to InvenGlobal, that he felt it was his “duty to say something about the issue.”

Blizzard didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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