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Despite apologies, Blizzard still gets boos

Posted by / November 3, 2019

Blizzard has tried to rectify its catastrophic handling of a sticky situation of its own making. The company banned several players for supporting the Hong Kong protests, sparking a huge backlash––and that backlash continued during Blizzcon, the company’s annual convention. Protestors gathered at Blizzcon, and the company’s apologies––from the mouth of the CEO himself––did not help to silence the riots.

Blizzard did an unintentionally fantastic job of supporting the Hong Kong protests by banning players who support them. The company just banned another three players for six months for holding up a sign that said “Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz.” This move will undoubtedly just draw more attention to the issue and add more support to the protestors’ cause.

Blizzard faced massive online backlash after pulling a player, Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai, from a tournament and banning him from Hearthstone esports for a month. They also revoked his prize money.

Blizzard claimed that Blitzchung’s statement brought into “public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public or otherwise damages” the company’s reputation. What did Blitzchung do? He said “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” in a post-game interview.

Blizzard is partially owned by the Chinese company Tencent, which accounts for its intense response to Blitzchung. The company’s blatant pro-China bias raised eyebrows, especially on Reddit––which has already been accused of pandering to Chinese interests. One user (in the /r/Conspiracy” subreddit) pointed out that multiple posts about the Blitzchung incident––as well as the South Park incident earlier this week––have been removed from the front page of Reddit.

The Hong Kong protests have proven very difficult for China. Beijing has doubled the number of troops in Hong Kong, bringing the number of troops to somewhere near 12,000. It is difficult to tell the exact number of troops, however, because China disguised their entry. Since China took control of Hong Kong in 1997, it has regularly rotated troops through the reason, with a steady level of around 6,000 being the norm. But last month, observers noticed, more troops came in as per usual but none left.

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