College Hearthstone Players Who Held Up 'Free Hong Kong' Sign Drop Out Of Tournament

Earlier this week, three collegiate Hearthstone players on the American University team held up a sign that read “Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz” during a stream broadcasted on Blizzard’s official Hearthstone Twitch channel. They expected a suspension similar to the one that, the day before, put pro player Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai on the sidelines for a year. That punishment never came, but the players won’t be competing.

The three players — Casey Chambers, Corwin Dark and a third player who simply goes by his online handle, TJammer — held up the sign on Thursday, following Hearthstone developer Blizzard suspending Blitzchung for making a statement in support of protesters in Hong Kong.

After the incident, Blizzard and tournament organising partner Tespa booked American University into their next scheduled match, sans any sort of punitive measures. Today, the three players said they’re going to forfeit the match and cease participating in tournaments.

“We feel it’s hypocritical for Blizzard to punish Blitzchung but not us,” the players told USgamer. “The response from Blizzard shows that as soon as the messaging is out of the view of China, they don’t care about ‘political’ messaging.”

During the now-infamous Hearthstone Asia-Pacific Grandmasters stream that kicked off this week’s Blizzard controversy, Blitzchung wore a mask and said “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!”

In response, Blizzard suspended him for a year and put a hold on his prize money. The American University players purposefully echoed his message in a show of solidarity, but so far, Blizzard seems to be treating it like business as usual.

These players join a host of pros, commentators, and fans in protesting Blizzard’s decision making. Blizzard, meanwhile, has now backed itself into an impossible corner.

If it suspended the American University players, fans would’ve inevitably been even more furious than they already are. But in its silence, Blizzard has created an obvious double standard — one that is simply too egregious for some players to abide by.


Comments

    They really have backed themselves into a corner.
    If they ban the college players, it will draw more ire for toeing the line of the CCP, and punishing non-chinese citizens who are not in china for saying something about a situation overseas. That would look bad.

    By not punishing them, they will draw accusations of hypocrisy.

    They have to make a choice. This situation was going to come up sooner or later - actually it’s better that they have to deal with the situation now, rather than later. They have to decide whether or not they will agree with what the CCP wants or listen to their customers in the West. Unfortunately for them, they can’t appease both.

    Make your decision Blizzard. I don’t anticipate the CCP changing their mind, so you can continue to do what they want, but very, very few of your customers in the West will be happy about that, or you can risk the ire of the CCP by standing up for what used to be your values. You can’t just faff about and hope the situation goes away, as much as I am sure you would like.

    I suppose the compromise would be for 2 sets of streams/tournaments. “China-only” streams in which non-Chinese citizens aren’t allowed to be shown and Political content is heavily controlled, and Streams the rest of the world can watch.

    Oh, and notice how I say “CCP” instead of China. Just as the Republican Party or the US government is not “America”, the CCP isn’t China. The CCP rules China, but it isn’t China. China has existed LONG before the CCP and, knowning history, WILL exist LONG after. And if you know anything about history, there WILL be an after. No party lasts forever. Not a single one.

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