On the same day Blizzard published its carefully-worded blog post detailing the punishment levied towards Hong Kong professional Blitzchung, the company’s official channels on the Chinese-focused social network Weibo were far less tactful.
On 8th October 2019, the official Hearthstone Weibo page posted a statement that linked to the original Blizzard Weibo post as well as the aforementioned blog page.
We had the statement posted to Weibo translated by a fluent speaker, and it reads as follows:
”We express our strong indignation and condemnation over the incident in the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters last weekend and firmly oppose the dissemination of personal political ideas in any event. The contestant involved will be suspended and the commentators’ official positions have been terminated. At the same time, we will, as always, firmly uphold national dignity.”
The statement is filled with red flags. In particular, the phrase referring to ‘national dignity’ is worrying, especially considering the specific action of banning a player for putting forward political views against the actions of the Chinese state. We’ll keep you updated on this ongoing case.
Since the story broke, Blizzard’s subreddit was shut down (it’s now back up) and a great deal of criticism has been levelled in the company’s direction, and this won’t be the last we’ll hear of the saga. Blizzard is yet to apologise, but even if it does deliver a statement, it’s looking less and less like it’ll earn the forgiveness of the community.