The Story So Far
Protests have been raging ion n Hong Kong since the 31st of March 2019. What started as a protest against the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill, has since spiraled into a greater issue bringing into focus atrocities committed by the Chinese government. According to the Hong Kong Free Press, protestors were concerned that the proposed amendments “would subject Hong Kong residents and visitors to the mainland Chinese jurisdiction, undermining the autonomy of the region and its civil liberties.”
A bustling finance hub in the global economy, Hong Kong’s movement for “independence” was soon picked up by the global media. Thousands of protestors marched and continue to march on the streets. Initially somewhat reminiscent of the Umbrella revolution of 2014, the protests have turned out to be a thorn on soles of the Chinese government.
Over the past 190 or so days, every conversation on international politics has been hijacked by the Hong Kong protests and now it seems to be leaking into the entertainment world as well. Major game studio Activision Blizzard has found itself amidst controversy after it banned a pro-Hong Kong gamer from participating in one of its main competitive events and even withheld his prize money.
The move has not gone down well with the gaming community and several of Blizzard’s subscribers are trying to cancel their subscriptions. Trying, because Blizzard won’t let them. Many users complained that they were not allowed to cancel their subscription and were given entirely unconvincing reasons by the support team. Blizzard maintains that this is a technical glitch.
Communities on reddit seem to have taken a lead on this anti-China stand. Many subreddits have the below post currently as the top-ranking post.
Overwatch, a popular video game with a very high following in China, is now being used as a protest tool as well. The hugely popular game by Blizzard has a Chinese character named Mei. Redditors are now focussing their energy on getting the game banned in China and delivering a blow to Blizzard’s revenues by portraying Mei as a pro-Hong Kong figure. Whether this plan works or not, it is no doubt an ingenious one.
What’s more, Porn sites have shut down to encourage people to go out and protest.
With BlizzCon scheduled for November 1st, it remains to be seen if the gaming community is just out for some karma farming or if they are genuinely fighting for the cause of liberty.
The annual convention held to promote the titles of Blizzard Entertainment is a much-anticipated event in the gaming calendar. If online chatter is anything to go by, unless Blizzard does a massive u-turn on its stance and apologize to the penalized gamer, this year’s event could be a major dampener.
For the first time in a long time, the boycott movement has got it right. Instead of boycotting celebrities for their minor infarctions, people are now focussing on punishing major corporations for taking an anti-liberty stance. Even if the movement fizzles out – I pray it doesn’t – it’s definitely a refreshing change to see people from all walks of life recognizing when liberty is under threat and freedom is being blinded by rubber bullets.
Dignity and respect have been beaten to a pulp by Chinese Triads at train stations and honor and justice pepper-sprayed in the eyes.
Times like these come should but once in your lifetime. It seems that world over more and more such incidents are taking place. Either you take a stand or you die on your knees.
This is not the first time China has exercised its muscle power.