Chinese Protests Effect on Esports

China is facing protests from Hong Kong citizens that has affected much of the world to this point. Due to the violence the protests have produced, many are showing their support for democracy in Hong Kong. Here is a little background to what started these protests.

Hong Kong is a part of China, however it has a different set of laws and procedures than mainland China. A bill was proposed to allow mainland China to take control of some trials and criminal suspects, which to Hong Kong residents, they believe would result in corruption and unfair law practices.

These protests have been going on for over six months. It has attracted a lot of media attention, and the support for Hong Kong has caused a ripple effect worldwide. Because of strict censorship in China, any opposition to the government through media is removed.

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This has affected the Esports world in a big way. A Hearthstone player known as “Blitzchung” praised the Hong Kong protests by saying “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!”. As a result, “Blitzchung” was banned from competition and stripped of monetary winnings. His ban was executed by Hearthstone developer, Blizzard Entertainment.

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Blizzard is one of the largest game developers in the world, having nearly 10,000 employees worldwide. The player ban resulted in a large employee walk out and two of Blizzard’s gamecasters stepping down. Many are also calling for a boycott of Blizzard games. The reason behind these actions are because Blizzard is making a statement that their business in China stands above players’ free speech. From a business standpoint, China makes up about 25% of revenue in the video game industry, so Blizzard must choose between censoring players or losing a large part of their market.

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