Pro-Hong Kong protesters gathered at the gates of BlizzCon

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member

On Friday, a group of about 15-20 #FreeHongKong protest organizers showed up at the Anaheim Convention Center, where the BlizzCon is held annually. The protesters held up picket signs and were ironically passing out tee-shirts adorned with Mei from Overwatch on them.

Mei was chosen as the mascot for the protest since she is Chinese. The black shirts feature Mei waving the flag of Hong Kong and the words "Mei With Hong Kong." The organizers handed out about 4,000 of the shirts.

"We hope that the attendees will wear the shirts inside to raise awareness of what's happening in Hong Kong and Blizzard's decision to disqualify one of its contestants for his free speech," one of the organizers Charles Lam told The Hollywood Reporter. "We want everyone to realize that even though free speech is limited in China, it shouldn't happen in America."

Some protesters also wore Winnie the Pooh costumes. Chinese President Xi Jingping banned the character after protesters compared him with the simple-minded bear. Wearing Pooh costumes seems silly, but can get you arrested in China. It is the protesters' way of thumbing their nose at the Communist leader.

We expected protests to spring up at BlizzCon due to the proximity of the event's date to the banning of Hong Kong Hearthstone pro-player Ng "Blitzchung" Wai Chung. Blizzard initially punished Blitzchung with a one-year suspension and forfeiture of his tournament winnings for holding up a pro-Hong Kong sign. It subsequently lowered the penalty to six months and gave back his award money, but only after brutal backlash.

The BlizzCon protesters did not go unnoticed either. Blizzard President J. Allen Brack acknowledged the group during the opening ceremony and voiced an apology.

"We didn't live up to the high standards we set for ourselves, and I am sorry," Brack said to the gathered crowd. "We will do better going forward. We are committed to allowing people to express themselves."

He then wowed the audience with a very long-awaited Diablo 4 trailer. We shall see if his words and distraction are enough to calm the waters for a while.

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Maxiking

TS Booster
Could someone explain to those low effort meme creators that freedom of speech does not mean you can bother others with your political propaganda at private events and channels? Blizzard has the rules for this reason.
 
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Hexic

TS Evangelist
Could someone explain to those low effort meme creators that freedom of speech does not mean you can bother others with your political propaganda at private events and channels? Blizzard has the rules for this reason.
Rules like these are only acceptable when it fits a political or social narrative. It’s all subjective unfortunately.
 
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Could someone explain to those low effort meme creators that freedom of speech does not mean you can bother others with your political propaganda at private events and channels? Blizzard has the rules for this reason.
I'm not going to address your claims that protests against authoritarianism is "political propaganda," but you're missing a few facts here.

First, look at the photo - they are protesting outside of the building in a public space. People are perfectly free to protest in public spaces with little to no restriction.

Second, I'm sure the property owner can set rules limiting speech for private events. If the owners were bothered then they can set rules for inside the building. Who owns the Anaheim Convention Center? The City of Anaheim, a public agency - not Blizzard.

Third, Blizzcon is open to anybody who buys a ticket - no different from a sporting event. Protests are perfectly fine for sporting events if they are not disruptive and aren't breaking rules set by the property owners.

To sum it up, not only are these people protesting on what seems to be a public space, but Blizzcon is also using a publicly owned convention center subject to rules of the local government - they are not at some exclusive private property at an exclusive private event.
 
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Nobina

TS Evangelist
If people on the picture are the ones fighting for...anything really, nothing's gonna get done. They're just posers that would run off at the first sight of any **** going down and the second picture makes me think some of them are there to just sell shirts.
 

m4a4

TS Evangelist
I'm not going to address your claims that protests against authoritarianism is "political propaganda," but you're missing a few facts here.

First, look at the photo - they are protesting outside of the building in a public space. People are perfectly free to protest in public spaces with little to no restriction.

Second, I'm sure the property owner can set rules limiting speech for private events. If the owners were bothered then they can set rules for inside the building. Who owns the Anaheim Convention Center? The City of Anaheim, a public agency - not Blizzard.

Third, Blizzcon is open to anybody who buys a ticket - no different from a sporting event. Protests are perfectly fine for sporting events if they are not disruptive and aren't breaking rules set by the property owners.

To sum it up, not only are these people protesting on what seems to be a public space, but Blizzcon is also using a publicly owned convention center subject to rules of the local government - they are not at some exclusive private property at an exclusive private event.
I can't tell if you misunderstood, or purposely created a strawman to attack for your argument.

It wasn't about where they are protesting, but why. Had nothing to do with protesting at a public event.
 

ZedRM

TS Member
Could someone explain to those low effort meme creators that freedom of speech does not mean you can bother others with your political propaganda at private events and channels? Blizzard has the rules for this reason.
Blizzard brought this on themselves for taking the wrong side. It's as simple as that.
 
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I can't tell if you misunderstood, or purposely created a strawman to attack for your argument. It wasn't about where they are protesting, but why. Had nothing to do with protesting at a public event.
Maybe you should carefully read Maxiking's post next time before liking it, because you apparently didn't read it carefully or didn't understand what he was saying. Maxiking is clearly talking about the place/venue for protesting.

Here is what he said:
Could someone explain to those low effort meme creators that freedom of speech does not mean you can bother others with your political propaganda at private events and channels? Blizzard has the rules for this reason.
You see the words "private events and channels"? What do you think that means?

The words "private events and channels" is clearly not referring to a "reason" for protesting but a "location/area/venue" for protesting. Hence, he is talking about "where" they are protesting.
 
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m4a4

TS Evangelist
Maybe you should carefully read Maxiking's post next time before liking it, because you apparently didn't read it carefully or didn't understand what he was saying. Maxiking is clearly talking about the place/venue for protesting.

You see the words "private events and channels"? What do you think that means?

Private events and channels is clearly not a "reason" for protesting but a "location" for protesting. Hence, he is talking about "where" they are protesting.
The irony. How about you read what he said before accusing me for not reading what he said.

Here, let me spell it out for you.
Could someone explain to those low effort meme creators
Here, he's talking about the public protesters.

that freedom of speech does not mean you can bother others with your political propaganda at private events and channels?
Here he's talking about what Blitzchung did at a private event (the tournament). Not the public BlizzCon.

Blizzard has the rules for this reason.
And here he's referencing that Blizzard cited why Blitzchung was punished. Why would that be mentioned if there were no rules used against the protesters in public?

Try again.
 
The irony. How about you read what he said before accusing me for not reading what he said. Here, let me spell it out for you. Here, he's talking about the public protesters.
Here he's talking about what Blitzchung did at a private event (the tournament). Not the public BlizzCon.
Except he used the following words: "explain to those low effort meme creators that freedom of speech does not mean you can bother others with your political propaganda...."

When he uses the word "you" and "your" in this context, then the sentence is referring to the public protesters that this article is addressing. The "low effort meme creators" (public protestants) are the subject in this sentence and "you" and "your" directly addresses them.

If he was talking about Blitzchung, then he should have said the following words "he" or "his" in a sentence such as the following: "explain to those low effort meme creators that freedom of speech does not mean Blitzchung/he can bother others with his political propaganda..."

Also, many of these protestors are protesting many Chinese Communist Party policies in general - they are not exclusively protesting just this Blitzchung ban event. The article specifically mentions that "Some protesters also wore Winnie the Pooh costumes."
People protesting with Winnie the Pooh costumes are protesting Chinese authoritarianism and arbitrary censorship that isn't even directly related to this Blitzchung ban, and are using the ban to get the bigger message across.

And here he's referencing that Blizzard cited why Blitzchung was punished. Why would that be mentioned if there were no rules used against the protesters in public? Try again.
He starts his paragraph with unnecessary insults against the public protesters. If he insults those protesters as "low effort meme creators," then it's not a stretch to think that he also thinks those protesters shouldn't be protesting Blizzcon.

As for rules, technically there was no actual rules against political statements at the original gaming event either. Blizzard applied a broad rule that would typically interpreted as cracking down on things such as profanity and lewdness.
 
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m4a4

TS Evangelist
He starts his paragraph with unnecessary insults against the public protesters. If he insults those protesters as "low effort meme creators," then it's not a stretch to think that he also thinks those protesters shouldn't be protesting Blizzcon.
Nope. You are stretching too far to make your only argument here. The only time that Blizzard has used rules recently was to punish Blitzchung (which they technically did have which he agreed to and understood. Don't Bullshit me). Nothing is mentioning rules about protests.

Which means you misunderstood and are just being disingenuous at this point. Because there are pretty much 2 camps you fall into: Blizzard is pro-China and should never have punished Blitzchung. Or Blizzard had every right to punish Blitzchung based on their rules.
And everything is pointing to the comment making fun of most of the protesters because most of the protesters think Blitzchung didn't deserve punishment for breaking Blizzard's rules.
 

jpuroila

TS Booster
Could someone explain to those low effort meme creators that freedom of speech does not mean you can bother others with your political propaganda at private events and channels? Blizzard has the rules for this reason.
And people are free to protests against those rules if they don't agree with them. What about that is so hard to understand?
 
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Puiu

TS Evangelist
After that kind of empty apology they deserve some more flack. They promised action not words and I still see the caster banned with their careers ruined. Blizzard lost me as a costumer after this whole debacle. Even EA could have handled this better and that says a lot about the state they are in right now.
 

Maxiking

TS Booster
I'm not going to address your claims that protests against authoritarianism is "political propaganda," but you're missing a few facts here.

First, look at the photo - they are protesting outside of the building in a public space. People are perfectly free to protest in public spaces with little to no restriction.

Second, I'm sure the property owner can set rules limiting speech for private events. If the owners were bothered then they can set rules for inside the building. Who owns the Anaheim Convention Center? The City of Anaheim, a public agency - not Blizzard.

Third, Blizzcon is open to anybody who buys a ticket - no different from a sporting event. Protests are perfectly fine for sporting events if they are not disruptive and aren't breaking rules set by the property owners.

To sum it up, not only are these people protesting on what seems to be a public space, but Blizzcon is also using a publicly owned convention center subject to rules of the local government - they are not at some exclusive private property at an exclusive private event.
I did literally specify that I was talking about private events and channels. So you are wrong.

Just because you are protesting against totalitarianism, it does make you righteous.

Let me tell you a little secret, there is over a billion of people in China the world do not give a damn about. I am not gonna pretend that Honk Kong is suddenly such a big issue because some liberal reddit kids wanna be popular and feel bad for supporting and buying goods made in China on a daily basis so they picked Blizzard and NBA as the targets they point fingers at.

Blizzard did nothing wrong. If you buy tickets to some event, you are obliged to follow the rules and get informed about the rules. So you are wrong again.

And no, sport events are not the place for political protests and manifests. You are wrong again.
 
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Maxiking

TS Booster
After that kind of empty apology they deserve some more flack. They promised action not words and I still see the caster banned with their careers ruined. Blizzard lost me as a costumer after this whole debacle. Even EA could have handled this better and that says a lot about the state they are in right now.
Except he used the following words: "explain to those low effort meme creators that freedom of speech does not mean you can bother others with your political propaganda...."

When he uses the word "you" and "your" in this context, then the sentence is referring to the public protesters that this article is addressing. The "low effort meme creators" (public protestants) are the subject in this sentence and "you" and "your" directly addresses them.

If he was talking about Blitzchung, then he should have said the following words "he" or "his" in a sentence such as the following: "explain to those low effort meme creators that freedom of speech does not mean Blitzchung/he can bother others with his political propaganda..."

Also, many of these protestors are protesting many Chinese Communist Party policies in general - they are not exclusively protesting just this Blitzchung ban event. The article specifically mentions that "Some protesters also wore Winnie the Pooh costumes."
People protesting with Winnie the Pooh costumes are protesting Chinese authoritarianism and arbitrary censorship that isn't even directly related to this Blitzchung ban, and are using the ban to get the bigger message across.



He starts his paragraph with unnecessary insults against the public protesters. If he insults those protesters as "low effort meme creators," then it's not a stretch to think that he also thinks those protesters shouldn't be protesting Blizzcon.

As for rules, technically there was no actual rules against political statements at the original gaming event either. Blizzard applied a broad rule that would typically interpreted as cracking down on things such as profanity and lewdness.
No politics.

Blizzard rule.

So TECHNICALLY YOU ARE WRONG AGAIN.
 
Nope. You are stretching too far to make your only argument here. The only time that Blizzard has used rules recently was to punish Blitzchung (which they technically did have which he agreed to and understood. Don't Bullshit me). Nothing is mentioning rules about protests. Which means you misunderstood and are just being disingenuous at this point. Because there are pretty much 2 camps you fall into: Blizzard is pro-China and should never have punished Blitzchung. Or Blizzard had every right to punish Blitzchung based on their rules. And everything is pointing to the comment making fun of most of the protesters because most of the protesters think Blitzchung didn't deserve punishment for breaking Blizzard's rules.
Maybe I did misunderstand his "intended" point, but when he insults protesters in his first sentence and then uses incorrect pronouns to describe who is doing what, then it leaves things ambiguous and open to interpretation.

And maybe there is a third camp - a camp that isn't black and white, but recognizes nuance: that Blizzard certainly could have justifiably punished Blitzchung in a more appropriate way, but they unjustifiably overreacted by harshly punishing Blitzchung and firing multiple other people during the incident.

Are we forgetting the glaring fact that Blizzard fired the two people who did the interview too? This goes far beyond simply punishing Blitzchung.

When you fire two interviewers who didn't even break the rules but only interviewed a guy who supposedly broke a rule, then it's obvious the goal wasn't to enforce rules, but to do damage control on their relationship with the Chinese government.
 
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I did literally specify that I was talking about private events and channels. So you are wrong.
Sure. Use the correct pronouns next time and there won't be any confusion.

Just because you are protesting against totalitarianism, it does make you righteous.
Let me tell you a little secret, there is over a billion of people in China the world do not give a damn about. I am not gonna pretend that Honk Kong is suddenly such a big issue because some liberal reddit kids wanna be popular and feel bad for supporting and buying goods made in China on a daily basis so they picked Blizzard and NBA as the targets they point fingers at.
Why are you so worried with what they are doing? Let them protest if they want to. If you don't want to protest then you can ignore them. And Hong Kong is not the only issue here. People have been protesting China's authoritarian, but now steadily totalitarian government for years. It's only picked up more steam thanks to the Hong Kong incident and the imprisonment of millions of Ugyhurs in Xinjiang.

And if you've been keeping up with current events, "liberals" aren't the only ones who have problems with China.

And no, sport events are not the place for political protests and manifests. You are wrong again.
Tell that to mainland China, which has an angry fit over Taiwan being in the Olympics or any sporting events. Thanks to mainland Chinese pressure, Taiwan isn't even allowed to compete under their under their own Republic of China flag.

You have a nice, but naive/unrealistic sentiment that doesn't really reflect on what happens in the real world. Politics have been common in sports for decades. Even in the Olympics, athletes have used gestures and speeches to support political causes. See the 1968 black power salute. Look up the 1936 Olympics, when Hitler turned the sporting event into political propaganda about Aryans, and where German Jewish and other Jewish athletes were barred from participating.

Nowadays, China uses political pressure in sporting events all the time, and people in the USA have used sporting events to display political messages for decades.
 
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No politics.
Blizzard rule.
So TECHNICALLY YOU ARE WRONG AGAIN.
Did you actually read the rules Blizzard used regarding the justification for their action? Nowhere is the word politics even mentioned.

Blitzchung was said to have violated rule 6.1, which reads: 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.

See how the word "politics" is not mentioned even once? It's a broad rule that allows Blizzard to crack down on any behavior it doesn't like - it's not a rule about politics at all.
So I am "technically right."

Also, two interviewers who interviewed Blitzchung also got fired by Blizzard. When Blizzard fires two people who didn't break any rules themselves but merely interviewed the person who supposedly broke a rule, then it's obvious that Blizzard didn't do this to enforce any rules, but to control their publicity with the Chinese government.
 
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m4a4

TS Evangelist
Maybe I did misunderstand his "intended" point, but when he insults protesters in his first sentence and then uses incorrect pronouns to describe who is doing what, then it leaves things ambiguous and open to interpretation.

And maybe there is a third camp - a camp that isn't black and white, but recognizes nuance: that Blizzard certainly could have justifiably punished Blitzchung in a more appropriate way, but they unjustifiably overreacted by harshly punishing Blitzchung and firing multiple other people during the incident.

Are we forgetting the glaring fact that Blizzard fired the two people who did the interview too? This goes far beyond simply punishing Blitzchung.

When you fire two interviewers who didn't even break the rules but only interviewed a guy who supposedly broke a rule, then it's obvious the goal wasn't to enforce rules, but to do damage control on their relationship with the Chinese government.
It was only ambiguous if you dismissed the last line in the comment about Blizzard's rules (which you tried to do). Otherwise, it made sense.

And it looks like you went into this without trying to understand the situation in more than 1 way. Those interviewers not only allowed the interview to go off topic, but they encouraged Blitzchung to say the phrase in Mandarin.
For that they all get a 6 month ban. Sure the initial ban was a bit harsh, but they did at least walk it back.
 

Puiu

TS Evangelist
It was only ambiguous if you dismissed the last line in the comment about Blizzard's rules (which you tried to do). Otherwise, it made sense.

And it looks like you went into this without trying to understand the situation in more than 1 way. Those interviewers not only allowed the interview to go off topic, but they encouraged Blitzchung to say the phrase in Mandarin.
For that they all get a 6 month ban. Sure the initial ban was a bit harsh, but they did at least walk it back.
The only reason why they "walked back" was because it became a nightmare for their PR team otherwise they don't care at all. The initial ban wasn't "harsh", it was intentionally made like that to set an example for anyone who went against the Chinese overlords backing them.
Their hypocritical apology at Blizzcon proves this. They never banned LGBT discussions or jabs at other countries (he even walked to give the speech an LGBT pin on his chest"), but Hong Kong discussions suddenly require the mighty ban hammer to be used? That's BS. They freaking apologized for baning them too quickly, not for baning them at all.
 

m4a4

TS Evangelist
They never banned LGBT discussions or jabs at other countries (he even walked to give the speech an LGBT pin on his chest"), but Hong Kong discussions suddenly require the mighty ban hammer to be used? That's BS. They freaking apologized for baning them too quickly, not for baning them at all.
Source this from the Grandmasters tournament. Otherwise, I don't care for your claims.
 

Puiu

TS Evangelist
Source this from the Grandmasters tournament. Otherwise, I don't care for your claims.
I'm sorry, are we limiting ourselves now to just 1 event? Is that how it works?
I don't have time to search for more things so here, taken from reddit:
ayi_KK-zn_RE0WUFwXUh20B7eZdpiZKsWw8KFos6Aas.jpg
 

ZedRM

TS Member
Why argue about these things? The crux of the issue is that Blizzard took sides in a political issue and then issued an unfair and wildly inappropriate penalty to parties that didn't deserve it. Blizzard made a d-bag move and mistake. They need to face the consequences for it. Turning this situation which has nothing to do with the LGBT movement into something that involves same is a textbook example of special-snowflaking.