Hearthstone Pro Banned from Grandmasters Event After Calling for Hong Kong’s Liberation

Hearthstone Pro “blitzchung” Also Received a One-Year Ban From Hearthstone eSports Events

A professional Hearthstone player was banned on Tuesday from this year’s Hearthstone Grandmasters competition after reportedly saying, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” during a post-game interview with two casters earlier this week.

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According to Blizzard Entertainment, this statement from the player, Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai, had violated an official rule that doesn’t allow participating players to behave in a way that “brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image”.

“Effective immediately, Blitzchung is removed from Grandmasters and will receive no prizing for Grandmasters Season 2,” Blizzard’s ruling read. “Additionally, Blitzchung is ineligible to participate in Hearthstone esports for 12 months beginning from Oct. 5th, 2019 and extending to Oct. 5th, 2020. We will also immediately cease working with both casters.”

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“We’d like to re-emphasize tournament and player conduct within the Hearthstone esports community from both players and talent,” Blizzard added. “While we stand by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules.”

According to NASDAQ, Chinese conglomerate Tencent owns a five percent stake in Blizzard Entertainment’s parent company, Activision Blizzard, that’s reportedly worth about $2.5 billion. Tencent is known for having a friendly, cooperative relationship with the Chinese government.

In response to the ban, Ng Wai told IGN that he doesn’t regret his words. “I expected the decision by Blizzard, I think it’s unfair, but I do respect their decision. I’m not [regretful] of what I said,” he said.

The ongoing protests in Hong Kong against the mainland Chinese government have been happening since March. The protestors are demanding that Hong Kong’s government doesn’t enact an extradition bill that could extradite wanted fugitives to mainland China and Taiwan. According to the protestors, this legislation encroaches on Hong Kong’s autonomy.

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