‘No regrets’ for Hong Kong gamer kicked out of eSports tournament

Video games giant Blizzard strips professional gamer of his earnings and bans him from Hearthstone esports after he voiced support for Hong Kong protests

  • Top online gamer expressed support for Hong Kong pro-democracy movement 
  • He shouted ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times’ during live-stream 
  • Ng Wai Chung was subsequently banned by tournament organizers for 1 year
  • Ng said he has no regrets, was not surprised at being kicked out of competition
  • Others from the gaming community have come out in support of Ng Chung

A top online gamer from Hong Kong who was expelled from an international eSports tournament after showing support for the city’s protest movement said he has no regrets. 

Ng Wai Chung, who represents the Asia-Pacific region under the name Blitzchung, had just won a crucial match at the Hearthstone Grandmasters tournament when he voiced his support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. 

The gamer donned a gas mask and goggles – equipment frequently used by protesters in Hong Kong – and exclaimed in Mandarin ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times’ during a live-streamed interview with hosts in Taipei on Sunday. 

Last Saturday, a ban on gas masks for protesters came into effect after Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam invoked emergency powers. 

Hearthstone is a hugely popular online card game in which two opponents take turns to deploy different characters with different abilities to try to defeat each other.

Top online gamer Ng Wai Chung (pictured) from Hong Kong was expelled from an international eSports tournament

The 21-year-old university student, who was wearing eye goggles and a gas mask – equipment frequently used by protesters in Hong Kong – pulled down his respirator to broadcast his message (right) during a live stream with the hosts (left). The online stream was cut off mid-interview shortly afterwards and quickly went to a commercial break

After breaching the tournament’s rules and missing out on the $10,000 prize money, Ng said he does not regret speaking out. 

The 21-year-old university student pulled down his respirator to broadcast his message.

The online stream was cut off mid-interview shortly afterwards and quickly went to a commercial break. The video has since been taken down.

Ng said he was not surprised at being kicked out of the competition, but said on Tuesday: ‘I don’t regret saying that stuff. And even now, I don’t regret it at all.’

The Hong Konger said he had been distracted by the sometimes-violent unrest in his home city over the past four months.

‘Quite a number of large-scale protests overlapped the competition time,’ he said. ‘Sometimes, I couldn’t focus on the competition.’

The makers of Hearthstone, Blizzard Entertainment, wrote in a statement Ng had broken their rules and said he will not receive any prize money — US$10,000 according to Ng — and will be banned from Hearthstone eSports for a year.

Those rules say players must not engage in acts that bring themselves into ‘public disrepute’, offend anybody or damage the developer’s image.

The video game industry last year generated more than $135 billion globally — $43.4 billion of that in the United States alone.

Ng said his removal from the competition was ‘a pity’ after spending four years in eSports.

Ng said his removal from the competition was ‘a pity’ after spending four years in eSports. ‘I sacrificed time hanging out with my friends and studying because of this competition. Even though it seemed that I had wasted four years of time, I have something more important in my heart — if we lose the movement, Hong Kong will end forever,’ he said

Ng said: ‘I shouldn’t be scared. I hope my act can inspire other gamers like me, to continue to support the movement in Hong Kong’

The video game industry last year generated more than $135 billion globally

‘I sacrificed time hanging out with my friends and studying because of this competition. Even though it seemed that I had wasted four years of time, I have something more important in my heart — if we lose the movement, Hong Kong will end forever.’

According to Bloomberg, a small stake of Activision Blizzard — the parent company of Blizzard Entertainment — is owned by the Chinese holding company Tencent and Ng believes the games developer could be bowing to Beijing’s world view by silencing him.

‘I didn’t expect my comments would make a huge impact,’ he said. ‘I’m just expressing myself and why should I be afraid of this kind of ‘white terror’? This is my freedom of speech.

‘I shouldn’t be scared. I hope my act can inspire other gamers like me, to continue to support the movement in Hong Kong.’

The gamer drew support from the gaming community, some of whom wrote on the Reddit-like forum LIHKG.

‘I really can’t think of any reason why the developers in eSports would offend youngsters. Good luck to them,’ wrote one user in Cantonese.

Another wrote: ‘I had been supporting the Blizzard Entertainment for nearly 20 years. I bought most of its games. I’m uninstalling all its games. I will not support Blizzard anymore.’

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