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When gaming giant Blizzard Entertainment suspended a player from an upcoming esports competition, it released a statement in Chinese and English regarding the incident. Just as with the recent NBA controversy, Blizzard’s statement in Chinese differed from its statement in English.
On Tuesday, Blizzard announced that it was suspending Hong Kong Hearthstone player Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung after he voiced support for Hong Kong protesters during an interview with the official Taiwanese Hearthstone livestream after his last matchup. “Liberate Honk Kong, revolution of our age,” Blitzchung said after appearing on the stream wearing a gas mask.
Esports consultant and journalist Rod Breslau reported that the Chinese version of Blizzard’s statement included an “additional comment condemning blitzchung and defending ‘the pride of China.’”
Breslau then provided a translation of the additional comment, which was included in the statement posted on Weibo – essentially China’s version of Twitter.
“We are very angered and disappointed at what happened at the event and do not condone it in any way. We also highly object the spreading of personal political beliefs in this manner … We will always respect and defend the pride of our country,” the statement said, according to Breslau.
Blizzard’s Chinese Weibo wrote:
“We are very angered and disappointed at what happened at the event and do not condone it in any way. We also highly object the spreading of personal political beliefs in this manner…We will always respect and defend the pride of our country.”
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) October 9, 2019
The English statement from Blizzard did not include the comment about the “pride” of China. As The Daily Wire reported Tuesday, Blizzard’s statement included Blitzchung’s competition rules violation:
Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player’s prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard’s Website Terms.
Blizzard’s English statement also laid out the punishment for Blitzchung’s actions and emphasized that players must follow the rules:
Effective immediately, Blitzchung is removed from Grandmasters and will receive no prizing for Grandmasters Season 2. Additionally, Blitzchung is ineligible to participate in Hearthstone esports for 12 months beginning from Oct. 5th, 2019 and extending to Oct. 5th, 2020. We will also immediately cease working with both casters.
We’d like to re-emphasize tournament and player conduct within the Hearthstone esports community from both players and talent. While we stand by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules.
The statement included no mention of disappointment or condemnation of Blitzchung’s actions, as the Chinese statement did.
Blizzard’s controversy is similar to that of Houston Rockets owner Daryl Morey, who tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters over the weekend and was condemned by the NBA.
ABC reported that the NBA put out a statement condemning Morey that was translated differently in China. The Chinese statement included phrases suggesting the NBA was “extremely disappointed” by Morey’s “inappropriate” comment. The post was also translated as saying Morey’s comments “severely hurt the feelings of Chinese fans.”
ABC reported, however, that the Chinese translation is not the official statement from the NBA, which only issued one statement, in English.
“We recognize that the views expressed by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable,” that statement said.
“There should be no discrepancy on the statement issued last night,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said. “We have seen various interpretations of the translation of the Mandarin version, but our statement in English is the league’s official statement.”