The gaming community isn’t taking Blizzard’s continuous bowing to China well, and they’re right not to. An American company doing everything it can to appease a totalitarian government overseas isn’t something many customers can get behind.
It all started when one of their championship players made comments that put him in solidarity with the Hong Kong protesters. Blizzard responded by banning the player, taking all his prize money away, and even firing the two announcers who were interviewing him.
This caused a massive backlash against the gaming company from its own fan base, but the gaming community has taken to getting even over getting angry.
A plan was hatched on Reddit’s subreddit r/HongKong to make the character Mei-Ling from the game Overwatch become a pro-Hong Kong protester by photoshopping and drawing the character in various ways that promote the protests. In this way, China would be forced to ban the game from the country, and possibly Blizzard itself.
Sure enough, many fans of the game and those in favor of the Hong Kong protesters got to work turning Mei into a “Free Hong Kong” symbol and the results have been amazing.
— 💉 Lilith Lovett🔪 (@LilithLovett) October 9, 2019
Make Mei the new symbol of Hong Kong's resistance. Or atleast meme it until China bans blizzard products. Share this shit out. pic.twitter.com/jX8RSbnC2f
— TraceySketshit (@Casey_Case18) October 9, 2019
— Rils (@RilsRislan) October 8, 2019
— Make Peace Not War (@S4veThePl4net) October 9, 2019
Mei says free Hong Kong pic.twitter.com/5qzBwTjm8A
— ruh roh raggy (@opissums) October 9, 2019
— Kaipo (@Kaipo_Rozwolf) October 8, 2019
Mei from Overwatch says:
"Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!" pic.twitter.com/4VraKTrufc
— spooky mommy riz 🎃🔞 (@PearlteaRizzy) October 9, 2019
— Chips n Salsa (@SaxophoneJerry) October 9, 2019
If this does catch on in a big way, then Blizzard may find themselves between a rock and a hard place. China’s iron grip on censorship within the country is quick with banning certain images and characters if they lend to the disrespect of the government or its leaders.
For instance, Winnie the Pooh is banned completely from Chinese media as many have compared Chinese President Xi Jinping to the Disney character in appearance.
South Park was also recently banned from China and all mention of the show wiped from its internet after the show criticized China’s censorship and American corporation’s willingness to be censored in order to stay in its markets.
Gamers forcing the hand of Blizzard and China may result in some serious fallout for Blizzard, and if they succeed then the rest of the public will have a template by which to punish companies that cave to communist governments.