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Prominent Gaming Company Blizzard Sanctions Tournament Player For Political Speech During Post Play Interview

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China – Is this communist ideological nation’s government using US-based companies to implement their draconian values across the globe?  With the recent incident involving the US-based NBA and now gaming company Blizzard Entertainment, it would appear the Chinese government is positioning itself to become the global “Big Brother” when it comes to the basic human right of freedom of speech.

Here’s the basics concerning the NBA, as reported by Breitbart News.

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey published the phrase “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong” on Twitter this weekend, triggering an international crisis as the repressive Chinese Communist Party demanded the NBA immediately silence him and the NBA readily complied, issuing an effusive apology.

The incident involving Blizzard Entertainment, as reported by Breitbart News, also involves the human right of freedom of speech, given to man as the great equalizer by God.

Blizzard is facing backlash from consumers angry that the company banned Hearthstone eSports champion Ng Wai “blitzchung” Chung, a native of Hong Kong, for making comments in favor of the pro-democracy protests in the city.

After expressing his support for the pro-democracy protests sweeping Hong Kong, Chung was banned by the multi-billion dollar entertainment company under a nebulous catch-all conduct policy that reads:

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.

Chung spoke to the official Taiwanese Hearthstone organization wearing a gas mask in protest after his victory against South Korea’s Jang “DawN” Hyun Jae.

As soon as he was on camera, he proclaimed: “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” The camera was immediately cut, the casters attempted to distance themselves, and videos of the match itself have been removed. Blizzard also fired both casters for good measure.

Readers can access the full details by following the links to the source articles.

The issue that is currently being debated is whether or not these two US-based companies, the NBA and Blizzard Entertainment, violated the rights of Morey and Chung by capitulating to the Chinese government and exacting punishment for speaking out against a despotic, tyrannical, oppressive, censorship happy, people controlling draconian nation.  And, the related issue, which also surrounded Colin Kaepernick, being debated is whether or not speech is or can be restricted in a professional environment as a condition for employment.

US-based companies have courted China for years since the US opened a door to trade with the oppressive government nation.  These companies have factories there because of the cheaper labor resulting in higher net profits for these US companies.  And, when conducting business or having industrial facilities in foreign countries, the companies must follow the laws of that country in order to remain there.  However, it does not mean that these companies must assist the Chinese government in exacting punishment for expressing a political view, opinion, or criticism of the government.  Despite China having laws containing severe punishment against criticism of the government and Xi Jinping, it doesn’t negate basic human rights given to man by God.  Just as Nazi Germany made the murder of ethnic groups legal, the action/law was immoral, unethical, and unbiblical;  so is China’s prohibition of freedom of speech.

China has been flexing their muscle in the South China Sea for quite some time now by building additional military complexes on outlier islands it claims as territory, increasing the number of military ships patrolling the sea, encroaching on the territorial waters of other nations intimidating fishing boats, stealing intellectual property from US companies and reverse-engineering the product for their own market share, as well as attempting to control the rest of the world by getting US companies to enact Chinese type censorship in global markets.

So far, China has banned Disney since some individuals have compared China’s leader, Xi Jinping to resembling Winnie the Pooh, creating memes with Xi’s face on the lovable Pooh bear’s head and body.  South Park has also been banned by the Chinese government for its criticism of Chinese censorship policies and flippant, sarcastic, “in your face” apology South Park style.

For Blizzard Entertainment, China comprises 12% of its gaming market so far and is expecting that market share to increase if China approves the release of the game “Call of Duty” mobile edition.  The California based company has an office in Taiwan, which is also a hotbed of controversy involving China;  but, that is an issue to discuss for another time.  So, in order to save its 12% market and the release of the latest version of Call of Duty, the gaming company penalized a participant in a gaming tournament as well as dismissing two broadcasters.  To justify the actions taken, Blizzard Entertainment references a vague, duplicitous, catch-all conduct policy.

The actions by Blizzard Entertainment against the player and broadcasters have received negative attention from Senate members Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).  In order to attempt to diffuse the situation, Blizzard Entertainment issued a statement of apology on their Chinese Weibo, where the phrase “protect the pride of our country” fueled more fire among the public.  At the same time, Blizzard Entertainment posted on the news feed on its Hearthstone website that the company supported an individual’s right to freedom of speech and sanctioned the player for violation of the terms of service.  Search You-Tube using the terms “blizzard hong kong” and you can view a host of videos discussing the issue in great detail.

Blizzard Entertainment’s Reddit platform r/blizzard has been closed by moderators because of the massive response and subscribers using the gaming forums on its World of Warcraft website have had posts removed.  Moreover, many have accused the company of removing entire threads discussing this issue.  Some gamers have complained that Blizzard Entertainment engaged in making the deletion of accounts substantially difficult by requiring multiple authentication processes to verify the identification of the person making the request.  The ability to delete accounts has been attributed to the increase in traffic to the server, which, according to some, was not initially established to handle large volumes of traffic.

Now, human rights are bestowed by God or are God-given.  These rights are unalienable, meaning these rights are not transferable and cannot be taken away.  God-given unalienable rights precede government and companies, meaning these rights were present before any government was created or company established.

The government has zero authority according to the laws of nature and nature’s God to infringe upon the right of freedom of speech.  That freedom does not extend to shouting “fire” in a theater, engaging in slander and/or libel, or issuing threats against another.  The same goes for companies.  While one can make policy for employment, the policy cannot infringe upon an individual’s God-given unalienable right as a condition for employment or participation in an event.

Codes of conduct are different.  These are usually a set of policies that often include provisions on political activity while on the job.  Most of these policies concern ethics issues surrounding the job one does and usually do not infringe upon an individual’s God-given unalienable rights.  So, what has to be determined is if the sanctioned individual violated their vague, duplicitous, catch-all conduct policy.  But, the way the policy is written, an individual who picked their nose, clearing a large piece of snot, or hocked up and spit out a loogey would trigger the use of this policy to sanction an individual.  It could also apply to those who use an innocent hand gesture or speak up on any pertinent social issue.

How many times have Hollyweird-Os used film award ceremonies or interviews about their latest venture as platforms to voice their opinion and promote their causes?  Plenty.  Is that the place for it?  Not really.  But, it’s their time, the network time and right to freely speak.

The consensus varies among gamers and media outlets dedicated to gaming whether Blizzard’s action was appropriate.  Some say the conduct policy is absolute and Blizzard followed its policy while others say the vagueness of the policy would allow even the smallest of infractions that would not be considered applicable to be punished.  Some commenters on the gaming website forums even suggested the entertainment giant’s action was appropriate if it was illegal to voice one’s opinion in the country in question.  Many cited Blizzard’s own inconsistency in enforcing its terms of service and end user license agreement regarding infractions by players.

Blizzard “reserves” sole discretion in determining if the acts an individual engages brings the individual into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard’s image.  And, it has sole discretion in determining whether or not to enforce its own policies.  In the case of the sanctioned tournament player and broadcasters, one has to ask the questions related to the policy to determine if the sanction was valid.  Did these individuals engage in an act that brought the individuals into public disrepute?  No.  In fact, many praised the winner for being courageous in speaking out about the situation in Hong Kong.  Did these individuals offend a portion or group of the public?  Yes, but it was only the government of China and/or its leaders.  Did these individuals engage in an act that damaged Blizzard’s image?  No, because the individual spoke after participation in the event during a personal interview and not on behalf of the entertainment company.  The winner, Blitzchung, admitted he knew his statement would result in Blizzard Entertainment enforcing the policy against him, but recognized the current conflict between Hong Kong and the overbearing Chinese government is more important than his winnings or personal safety.

Basically, this is a poor conduct policy with harsh punishment for an infraction where the company can declare anything as a violation and places an undue burden on the individual to anticipate what would trigger the company to enforce the policy.

And for the record, there is no “right” to not be offended, which was invented by government, government stooges, small fringe anti-constitutionalist groups who engage in degenerate behavior, and totalitarian regimes who want to hide their crimes.

In response to Blizzard Entertainment’s actions, gamers are encouraging boycotts, making threads on the forums regarding this issue that is considered political and against Blizzard’s terms of use, and cancelling subscriptions and accounts.  The impact of the entertainment giant’s actions and player response is continuing to unfold.  And, with Blizzard’s largest convention, Blizzcon, set to occur next month, gamers are already trying to organize to wear T-shirts supporting Hong Kong, the player Blitzchung, and condemning Blizzard.  Right now, executives at Blizzard have remained silent but a recent release indicated the company was assessing the situation.

There are much bigger issues at play here – hypocrisy on the part of the US government and US-based companies; and China using commercial markets to engage in global censorship.  The united States government, as well as US companies, conduct business every day with regimes that have a poor track record on human rights.  If, as a free republic, the government condemns nations with poor track records on human rights as it continues to conduct business with the oppressive regime and allows US companies to do the same, the US government is basically supporting human rights violations on a global scale.  It’s hypocrisy on an industrial scale.  But, cheap labor and products are more important than moral values and principles.

As China expands its percentage of participation in global commercial markets, US-based companies who want to take advantage of the opportunity to pad its corporate coffers will follow “requests” by China to quell any opposing opinion or viewpoint, criticism and open protest.  In essence, China will use these companies to do its dirty work under the guise of these companies “just following policy” in order to keep their creeping stealth global censorship under the radar.  However, with the NBA and Blizzard Entertainment issue garnering widespread attention, the cat is out of the bag as they say.  But, it will be up to the citizens of free nations to keep the issue of China’s move to globally censor the world’s population at the forefront.

While politicians in the US government have harped repeatedly on the threat of Russia, the implication of the Ukraine corruption scandals, and the need to impeach a president to “save the nation”, the global move by China to dominate the remainder of the world is swept under the rug.  No need to wonder why – these politicians are making plenty of money off the shuffle of American industry to China and are willing to sell Americans down the river.  And, with companies like Blizzard Entertainment and agencies like the NBA receiving a share of the Chinese market, it is likely these companies will follow China’s “requests” to help that government’s leaders to engage in further human rights violations all for their love of money and greed.

Article posted with permission from Sons Of Liberty Media

The Washington Standard

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