American-based video game maker Blizzard Entertainment is being criticized for appeasing Chinese censors after it banned a Hong Kong gamer who espoused support for the region’s beleaguered pro-democracy protesters.

On Tuesday, reports surfaced Blizzard had suspended the account of Hearthstone tournament gamer Blitzchung after he yelled, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” during a televised interview.

According to a statement from Blizzard Entertainment, Blitzchung was removed from the Grandmasters tourney, is ineligible to receive any prize money, and is suspended from Hearthstone Esports for a year, for breaking an official competition rule.

“We will also immediately cease working with both casters,” the company announced, referring to the two hosts of the broadcast who ducked their heads when Blitzchung made his statement.

A pinned Twitter post from Blizzard received a large ratio of negative comments, accusing the company of bending over for Communist China.

One Daily Beast reporter noted a placard on a statue outside the Blizzard headquarters ironically contains the message, “Every Voice Matters.”

The kerfuffle comes as the NBA also faces backlash from China after Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey made comments on Twitter supportive of the Hong Kong protesters fighting to keep China from imposing a draconian extradition policy.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came to Morey’s defense, saying, “I want to make it clear … that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression.”

However, Chinese state-run media issued a statement rejecting Silver’s support of Morey’s comments, claiming, “We strongly oppose Silver’s support of Morey on the basis of freedom of speech and we think any comments that challenge a country’s sovereignty and social stability is not within the scope of freedom of speech.”


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