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A day after Blizzard banned a Hearthstone pro player for publicly supporting the Hong Kong protests, the community pushback continues to grow. The latest protest move? Turning Chinese Overwatch character Mei into a symbol of support for the Hong Kong liberation movement.
In Overwatch, Mei is a Chinese climatologist. Her motto is: “Our world is worth fighting for.” She conveys a message of ecology and hope.
Now Mei is being transformed. In one piece shared on Twitter she wears a gas mask to show solidarity with the protests; in another, she’s showing a shirt covered with Hong Kong liberation slogans. Twitter users rallied behind #meiwithhongkong, a hashtag to share their creations. The Hong Kong subreddit is also filled with Mei images: “Mei the Force be with Hong Kong,” a user wrote. Another even edited her cinematic to add Hong Kong Liberation elements.
The “five demands, not one less,” mentioned in the video refer to the demands that Hong Kong protesters made to the Chinese government. The protests have been going for almost five months.
Blizzard banned Hearthstone pro Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung for one year yesterday after he repeated the slogan of the Hong Kong protestors: “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times.” He was wearing a gas mask at the time. Additionally, his prize earnings were canceled, and both Taiwanese casters on the interview were fired —one of them was also an Overwatch caster.
Pushback against Blizzard’s move has been fierce. Players are promising to boycot Hearthstone and other Blizzard games, Blizzard employees quietly protested at the company’s California offices, and social media is filled with infuriated users.
The publisher, which has a strong Chinese player base and investors, has far remained silent. But as pushback grows, it will likely have to respond soon.