The plot continues to thicken around the ongoing controversy surrounding Blizzard and the banning of Hearthstone player Ng Wai "Blitzchung" Chung after he voiced his support of a liberated Hong Kong. Now, Overwatch has become the center of a new online movement, where users are using one of the characters from Overwatch in order to share their outrage against Blizzard, namely Mei.
This comes in the wake of a large online effort to show support for both Blitzchung and the Hong Kong protests that he was banned for supporting. The hashtag #BoycottBlizzard has picked up steam online, leading players to delete their Blizzard accounts, sometimes without much luck.
With some of their options to protest disappearing, disappointed fans have been using their creativity to turn Overwatch's Mei into a symbol of the Hong Kong protest. Mei in particular was a hot choice for online protests thanks to her both being an extremely popular character among the community as well as a proper representation of the current controversy, seeing as she is Chinese. Centering this newest movement around Mei in particular could have huge implications for Blizzard, given China's reputation for censorship.
Blizzard banned pro Hearthstone winner for supporting free Hong Kong and took away his prize money. It would be SUCH A SHAME if Mei became a symbol of Hong Kong democracy and got #Overwatch banned in China like Pooh did— Wenqing Yan (@Yuumei_Art) October 9, 2019
#FreeHongKong #MeiWithHongKong #MeiSupportsHongKong pic.twitter.com/yPum1ZTQqH
It seems as though the Mei movement began with a post on the r/HongKong subreddit that suggests making her an icon for the Hong Kong protests in order to get Blizzard games banned in China. The motivation here comes from how the Hong Kong movement, the boycott against Blizzard, namely its dependence on the Chinese market, and the decision to ban Blitzchung in the first place. This is also not the first protest against Blizzard in the wake of its controversial decision, as even longtime employees of Blizzard have taken measures to show their disappointment in the decision.
While Blizzard is the focus of the #BoycottBlizzard hashtag and the current movement pushing Mei to be an icon for the protests, it's important to remember for players that are outraged with Blizzard's response to a pro player openly supporting the democratic liberation of Hong Kong that Blitzchung's words didn't go to waste. This current controversy has raised a huge amount of awareness for the Hong Kong protests, even going so far as to attract the attention of career politicians like Marco Rubio toward the conflict.
Overwatch is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, with a Switch version launching on October 15.