Hearthstone pro Ng Wai “blitzchung” Chung has been banned by Blizzard after calling for the liberation of Hong Kong during a live stream. blitzchung was taken off air after his public support for Hong Kong during a live stream causing widespread controversy in the esports industry this week.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Blizzard’s decision to ban Ng Wai “blitzchung” Chung for a year, for proclaiming support for Hong Kong’s liberation movement during an official stream this week, with more details coming to light all the time. The r/Hearthstone subreddit has seen a multitude of accounts by fans expressing their support for Chung after he was banned by Blizzard, many fans stating their intention to quit the game in solidarity with Chung and Hong Kong.

Things have descended to the point that the r/Blizzard subreddit was even locked down, presumably in response to the high number of heated discussions taking place within the community. The r/Hearthstone subreddit is currently an invite-only subreddit, and remains inaccessible at the time of writing.

Following an interview with the press, Blizzard has confirmed that Ng Wai “blitzchung” Chung was in violation of the 2019 Hearthstone Grandmasters Official Competition rules. They reaffirmed their decision to remove Blitzchung from the Grandmasters, and confirmed that he will not receive the prize money he won during his performance in the Grandmasters Season 2.

On top of these measures, Blitzchung has also been banned from Hearthstone esports for 1 year beginning on the 5th of October 2019, also losing his contract with Blizzard.

Blizzard’s justification for these actions are that Blitzchung’s actions during the interview in question, violated Rules section 6.1 (o) which states: “Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the pulic, 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.”

Blizzard made the following statement in a blog post announcing Blitzchung’s ban which they recently published: “Grandmasters is the highest tier of Hearthstone Esports and we take tournament rule violations very seriously … 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 competition must abide by the official competition rules.”

Hearthstone pro Chung claims that he does not regret his words during an interview with IGN: “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 also went on to say; “I shouldn’t be afraid of these kinds of white terror” clarifying that  ‘white terror’ means: “It describes anonymous acts that create a climate of fear.”

The statements, made during an interview streamed during the Grandmasters, also saw Chung wearing a face mask on camera, referencing the Chinese government-issued ban on wearing face masks while protesting, something Hong Kong protesters have been doing in recent times in order to protect their identities.

Chung’s support of the Hong Kong protests was further solidified later in the interview when he shouted, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” These actions caused the stream to quickly be cut to a commercial break, and videos of the Grandmasters match in question are no longer available to the public online.

Check out this video by that addresses this controversial decision by Blizzard.

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