Blizzard has suspended Casey Chambers, Corwin Dark, and TJammer -- American University Hearthstone team players -- for six months after the trio displayed a "Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizz" sign in a streamed competition. Read the rest
Blizzard's cowardly decision to appease Chinese authoritarians by ejecting a champion player who expressed support for the pro-democracy struggle in Hong Kong has kicked off a global rebellion by the company's customers, who are furious that the firm has put its profits over an entire nation's right to self-determination and basic democratic freedoms. Read the rest
For decades, it was a commonplace in western business that no one could afford to ignore China: whatever problems a CEO might have with China's human rights record could never outweigh the profits to be had by targeting the growing Chinese middle-class. Read the rest
Apple can't seem to figure out how to kowtow to China without losing face in the US. Read the rest
When Apple caved to pressure from the Chinese government and yanked an Ios app that let users avoid being attacked by the city-state's murderous, rampaging police forces, it was merely continuing a long tradition of capitulation to Chinese authorities, who control access to some of Apple's most important customers as well as the factories that make the bulk of Apple's products. Read the rest
Being a global multinational sure is hard! Yesterday, World of Warcraft maker Blizzard faced global criticism after it disqualified a high-stakes tournament winner over his statement of solidarity with the Hong Kong protests -- Blizzard depends on mainland China for a massive share of its revenue and it can't afford to offend the Chinese state. Read the rest
Blizzard Entertainment, best known for publishing World of Warcraft, suspended a pro Hearthstone player and pulled his prize money because he said, “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!” during a livestream.
Blizzard, which has a huge and lucrative market in China, determined that Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai's utterance was in violation of a competition rule:
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.
According to Kotaku: "Blitzchung’s punishment is an immediate removal from Grandmasters, a withholding of prize money for his participation and a ban from taking part in Hearthstone esports 'for 12 months beginning from Oct. 5th, 2019 and extending to Oct. 5th, 2020.'"
— 🎃 Inven Global 🎃 (@InvenGlobal) October 6, 2019
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The Hong Kong Free Press identifies the builders of this brick-throwing manganel fashioned from torn-down bamboo scaffolding as Hong Kong protesters, who deployed their siege engine in Mong Kok, Kowloon, home to narrow streets and night markets. The Free Press says it was "removed shortly after." Read the rest
In Hong Kong, a boycott has begun of skateboard lifestyle brand Vans after the company pulled the above design from their annual Vans Custom Culture competition. In the contest, the public is invited to submit their designs in competition for a cash prize and having their shoe design manufactured. This particular design is themed around the current anti-government protests in Hong Kong and it was apparently doing quite well in the competition. From CNN:
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The design, attributed to a Canada-based user named Naomiso, features a red bauhinia, the flower on Hong Kong's flag, and one of the yellow umbrellas synonymous with the city's 2014 pro-democracy protests. Illustrations on the sneaker's side depict a crowd of protesters wearing gas masks, goggles and hard hats.
On Saturday, with over a week of voting still to go, the submission was removed from the competition website. In a statement posted on Facebook in Chinese and English, the brand said that "a small number of artistic submissions have been removed ... to uphold the purpose of Custom Culture."
"As a brand that is open to everyone, we have never taken a political position and therefore review designs to ensure they are in line with our company's long-held values of respect and tolerance, as well as with our clearly communicated guidelines for this competition," the statement said, without referring specifically to the protest-themed design.
The statement drew condemnation on social media from Hong Kong protest supporters, where a number of posts were accompanied by the hashtag #boycottVans.
Hong Kong joins the ranks of other autocratic nations that have banned face coverings in the name of national security: Sri Lanka, France, the Netherlands, Canada, etc (such bans have also been proposed in the UK, Australia, the USA). Read the rest
A bit of good news for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, and the app developers trying to help them not get injured or killed by police. Read the rest
Hkmap Live is a crowdsourced app that uses reports from a Telegram group to track the locations of protesters, police, and traffic, as well as the use of antipersonnel weapons like tear gas, mass arrests of people wearing t-shirts associated with the protest movement, and mass transit closures in proximity to demonstrations (it's a bit like Sukey, the British anti-kettling app). Read the rest
The Black Blorchestra performs a gorgeous and stirring rendition of "Glory to Hong Kong" for an audience of protesters in HK, all dressed in the uprising's defacto uniform of masks and helmets. (Thanks, Jeff Wasserstrom!) Read the rest
Kick-ass political posters were a big deal generations before the moral panic over whether the #resistance was too concerned with instagrammable anti-trump signs; democratized access to layout, design and publishing tools have made the new authoritarian era into a golden age of brilliant protest art, as is evidenced by the Internet Archive's collection of protest posters from the Hong Kong uprising. Read the rest
China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office hosted a press conference on the ongoing Hong Kong pro-democracy uprising, with spokesman Yang Guang directing every branch and agency of Hong Kong's government (including airports, universities, and the public transit system) to attack the protests, promising "Especially to those key violent criminals and their backstage masterminds, organisers and agitators, [we] must show no mercy and pursue till the end." Read the rest