The Hong Kong protests, which evolved out of years of nationalistic and geopolitical tensions, have become increasingly violent and divisive in recent months. With anti-China protesters allegedly devolving into racially motivated attacks and increasing militancy, police have responded in kind, with multiple violent attacks on both sides being reported. The situation is further complicated by the public perception of China in response to these events, with the increasingly loud message that the HK protests are being taken advantage of by Western powers to discredit China. Western nationalists and anti-communists have certainly latched on, encouraging anti-China sentiment in strange public displays. Aims and goals aside, it seems pretty clear that many stand behind the HK demonstrators as they become more militant in response to increased aggression.
The situation is complex, as Hong Kong possesses a degree of autonomy from China under current agreements, but attempts to curtail dissent from within China, like the infamous extradition bill that sparked this current wave of protests, have been met with severe backlash. The attempts to legislate Hong Kongers have met with increasing resistance from the citizenry, with protesters taken to attacking businesses they believe are pro-Beijing, as well as using hashtags like ‘Chinazi’ to promote their news and propaganda. This has been met with an increasingly targeted countering from pro-China sources like China Daily.
Hearthstone Grandmasters winner, Ng ‘blitzchung’ Wai Chung voiced his support for the movement in a post-match interview. However the manner in which he did it appears to have ruffled some feathers. Blitzchung appeared on the official Taiwanese Hearthstone livestream wearing a gas mask and ski goggles, and shouted in Chinese, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” The livestream hosts quickly ducked out of sight, and closed the interview with, “Ok that’s it, Blitz bro.”
The stream cut to an ad break after the outburst, and VODs of the interview were quickly pulled from official sources. After the event, several news organizations reached out looking for clarification, “As you know there are serious protests in my country now. My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest,” he told Inven Global.
“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 a lot of trouble, even my personal safety in real life. But I think it’s my duty to say something about the issue,” Blitzchung concluded.
Whatever the outcome of this event for Blitzchung, it’s clear that the political tensions surrounding China and Hong Kong are going to continue. And as Taiwan is increasingly isolated on the world stage, thanks to nationalist sentiment domestically, it appears as though those within the country like Blizzard will ere on the side of caution when it comes to this sensitive topic.