A few days ago we reported on a controversy involving Blizzard and the Chinese government. When a Hearthstone player voiced support for Hong Kong’s protests against China, Blizzard took drastic measures to avoid losing Chinese support. Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung was banned from the tournament, stripped of his prize money, and banned from competition altogether for a full year. The resulting backlash has some fans calling for a boycott and deleting their accounts. Others have decided to take a more creative approach: making Overwatch‘s Mei a symbol of the Hong Kong protests.
The goal is to hurt Blizzard where it counts: in their wallets. Online activists reason that by making Mei a symbol of the protests, they may drive China to ban Overwatch. If the money made by the Chinese market is driving Blizzard’s decisions, destroying one of those revenue sources might give them pause. Whether or not this plan will work remains to be seen, but the movement is definitely gaining steam. In fact, Mei has started popping up on protest signs in Hong Kong itself.
Mei emerges as a Hong Kong protest symbol
As the media coverage of Hong Kong continues, we’re now seeing Mei in more and more places. In the footage below (starting at around 1:22:43) you can see a group of protestors all using pictures of the popular Overwatch character to get their point across.
What will Blizzard do?
So far we haven’t heard anything regarding China’s response to this. Given the intense backlash, Blizzard has announced that they’re “assessing” the situation. With Blizzcon 2019 coming up soon, they’ll want to have this PR nightmare resolved, but that doesn’t seem likely. In fact, some fans are already planning protests at the upcoming event, a Mei cosplayer. Others are already protesting outside Blizzard currently. This group may be small, but online support for the movement is growing, and it’s not going anyway anytime soon.