Blizzard in China? No, this isn’t about abominable weather. We’re talking about the American company behind AAA franchises like Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft.
Games, protests and bans
American gaming company Blizzard recently made headlines for banning Chinese gamer Ng Wai “blitzchung” Chung from its Hearthstone Grandmasters e-sports tournament. All because the latter voiced support for the ongoing Hong Kong protests. Pundits are saying the ban was driven by a mix of business and political sensibilities. However, Blizzard asserts that this was done in accordance with tournament rules. Meanwhile, China has remained silent on the matter.
Because China represents a huge market for Blizzard, pundits believe Blizzard issued the 12-month ban to placate the Chinese government, which has historically been sensitive to criticisms levied against it. The response to Blizzard’s move has been anything but positive, with pushback coming from gamers and US senators alike.
Roadblocks for China
Judging by how proudly it displayed its military might at its 70th anniversary parades, Xi’s China shows no sign of giving in to pressure. But with the drawn-out fracas with Hong Kong, floundering trade relations and mounting anti-China activism across the globe, it remains to be seen whether or not it manages to ride it out.
This episode may be another piece of evidence that the world is intent on plunging itself into an Orwellian nightmare. Already, stories of oppression and subjugation from Crimea to Xinjiang surface on a daily basis. Across the world, nationalism is being mistaken for patriotism, and authoritarian regimes in sheep’s clothing are undermining the democratic process.
In the confusion, populaces are manipulated, subjugated or lulled into inaction. Instead of closer international cooperation to advance justice, peace and progress, the world has become more divided along the lines of tribe, creed and religion.
What can we do as individuals? In our search for answers, let’s remember what’s been observed by famous people from John F Kennedy Edmund Burke. That evil flourishes when good men stand by and do nothing.