Home Gaming Blizzard bans Hearthstone grandmaster for Hong Kong supports, pulls prize winnings and kicks democracy in the teeth

Blizzard bans Hearthstone grandmaster for Hong Kong supports, pulls prize winnings and kicks democracy in the teeth

3 min read

Things in Hong Kong aren’t great right now. The island country has been beleaguered by protests for since June, when a proposed law would see suspected criminals extradited to mainland China for trial. The worry here was that this law would undermine the country’s judicial independence, established as part of the handover from Britain to China. While Hong Kong is part of the singular China, it – like Macau – has been able to retain its own economic and administrative systems.

Since then, the protests have escalated, with calls for more autonomy, a greater democracy and amnesty for protestors, all of this amidst fears that the Chinese military might intervene. This weekend past, Hong Kong Hearthstone pro Chung “blitzchung” Ng Wai caused a storm of controversy when he appeared in a Hearthstone Grandmasters post-match interview, wearing a gas mask and goggles in defiance of the new law banning face masks in Hong Kong. In the stream, when he removed his mask, he shouted “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” The stream has since been deleted from Blizzard’s Twitch channel.

Chung has not backed down either, saying that he knew that his actions might cause problems, but believed he had a duty to raise awareness about Hong Kong’s plight.

“As you know there are serious protests in my country now. My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention,” he said in a statement. “I put so much effort in that social movement in the past few months, that I sometimes couldn’t focus on preparing my Grandmaster match. I know what my action on stream means. It could cause me lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it’s my duty to say something about the issue.”

Now, Blizzard has banned him. They have suspended Chung from The Hearthstone Grandmasters, he will receive none of the prize money due to him, and will be banned from playing in official tournaments for a year. The two Taiwanese casters who appeared with him on the stream – Virtual, Winner of the All-Star 2017 Taiwan invitational tournament, and Mr. Yi – were also fired. Says Blizzard, in a statement:

During the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters broadcast over the weekend there was a competition rule violation during a post-match interview, involving Blitzchung and two casters, which resulted in the removal of the match VOD replay.

Upon further review we have found the action has violated the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition Rules section 6.1 (o) and is individual behavior which does not represent Blizzard or Hearthstone Esports. 6.1 (o) is found below.

2019 HEARTHSTONE® GRANDMASTERS OFFICIAL COMPETITION RULES v1.4   p.12, Section 6.1 (o)Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms. 

Grandmasters is the highest tier of Hearthstone Esports and we take tournament rule violations very seriously. After an investigation, we are taking the necessary actions to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Effective immediately, Blitzchung is removed from Grandmasters and will receive no prizing for Grandmasters Season 2. 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.

We’d like to re-emphasize tournament and player conduct within the Hearthstone esports community from both players and talent. 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.

It’s worth noting that Chinese mega tech corporation Tencent is one of the big investors that helped Bobby Kotick and co buy Activision Blizzard out from Vivendi – and still owns a 5% stake in the company. This just shows how important Chinese money is to business; it’s more important than democracy.

Last Updated: October 8, 2019


  1. Kromas

    October 8, 2019 at 08:58

    Activision has completely taken over Blizzard. This is not surprising to me anymore.


  2. Gavin Mannion

    October 8, 2019 at 08:58

    While I agree with the HK protests the guy knew this would happen. Poltiical protests by employee’s or sponsored people are always banned.

    I wonder if we’d all be as upset if he got banned for supporting Trumps great and unmatched wisdom?


    • Geoffrey Tim

      October 8, 2019 at 08:58

      Yeah, he knew what he was doing; knew the consequences of his actions. We also know Blizzard’s hands are tied – it’s still disappointing


    • konfab

      October 8, 2019 at 09:21

      Issue is that people are too lazy to figure out moral issues for themselves and take action on it thus expect corporates and the government to do it for them.

      “Take a stand against bullying” – by Taco Bell.
      “Mental health is a serious issue” -by McDonalds.


      • Jacques Van Zyl

        October 8, 2019 at 09:21

        ^^ This x 100!

        Just as Epic is not to blame for kids addicted to Fortnite, companies should not be expected to figure out and take action in support of personal/moral issues.

        It sucks that Blizzard has to do this, but I respect both them and Chung for doing what they believe is right despite the negative consequences for all.

        Mad props to Chung for his act of protest.


    • Dresden

      October 8, 2019 at 09:09

      I would. It’s a lot of money xD


    • Magoo マグ

      October 8, 2019 at 11:45

      Exactly what I was thinking. We all know what’s going on in HK, an esports stage is not the place for political protest.


      • Gardos

        October 8, 2019 at 13:44

        What is the right place for political protest? Protest is about using a platform to get your opinion across. For most people that’s putting their feet on the ground because it’s all they have. Others may have a greater platform available to them.

        Agree or disagree with the cause/method but anywhere with a large audience is exactly the place for political protest.


        • Magoo マグ

          October 8, 2019 at 14:27

          No. Next thing we have Brexit propaganda, Trump support, Merkel shaming and all that rubbish in esports streams. They do this in the Oscars and it’s cringe as fuck, and alienates people.

          Good for him for getting his message out there. But his ban was expected and deserved.


          • Gardos

            October 9, 2019 at 13:18

            Change has rarely come about when people played by the rules or feared alienating others/themselves. Granted, there will be consequences but protest is a form of discourse; proven by the very fact that we’re talking about it.

            We can agree to disagree.

  3. Guz

    October 8, 2019 at 09:09

  4. konfab

    October 8, 2019 at 09:09

    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.”

    Do the PR morons who write this stuff expect people to believe it.?


  5. Guz

    October 8, 2019 at 09:09

    Watch the latest episode of south park re: Disney and china , it sums it up quite nicely


  6. Hammersteyn

    October 8, 2019 at 09:30

    Everyone that’s doing business with China or could lose money because of China’s influence is bending the knee. Even the NBA recently.


  7. Pennywise The Dancing Clown

    October 8, 2019 at 09:39

    Or you know, he just had enough of Hearthstone and wants to play a new game and made sure his exit out of said game would be permanent and a great way to air his views.
    Viva Democracy! Viva!


    • HairyEwok

      October 8, 2019 at 10:26

      He’s just banned for a year though. Next year he could participate again, so i would say this is a win for him getting his protest aired to millions at the cost of 1 years prize income.


  8. Admiral Chief

    October 8, 2019 at 10:07

    Only Tuesday, and already worst story of the week


  9. Sageville

    October 9, 2019 at 11:24

    Cause and effect I suppose…

    The rules were there and deliberately broken and the listed punishment was implemented.
    Not sure what else was to be expected.

    Still, I do hope the Hong Kong thing comes right.


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