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Protestors are trying to get Overwatch banned in China, using memes of popular hero Mei

Overwatch hero Mei is being turned into a symbol of resistance

Overwatch hero Mei standing with her hands on her hips Blizzard Entertainment
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

People are furious after Blizzard Entertainment suspended Hearthstone player Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung for expressing support for Hong Kong during an official tournament broadcast. Gamers are calling for a boycott of Blizzard games — and now, some are turning Overwatch hero Mei into a symbol of the Hong Kong resistance.

A post yesterday on the r/HongKong subreddit suggested people turn Mei, a Chinese Overwatch hero, into a “pro-democracy symbol” to get “Blizzard’s games banned in China.” (China already censors Winnie the Pooh after the internet began associating the character with president Xi Jinping.) The post has been upvoted more than 12,000 times, and has more than 300 comments, plenty of which are images of Mei supporting Hong Kong. The movement has spread outward into Twitter and elsewhere.

Players have also continued to post screenshots of themselves uninstalling Blizzard games and closing their accounts. The #BoycottBlizzard hashtag remains active, with new tweets generated nearly every second.

On Oct. 8, Blizzard suspended blitzchung for using his post-game interview on Oct. 6 to support protesters engaging in ongoing protests in Hong Kong. Blitzchung has been banned from Hearthstone esports for a year, and will not earn the $10,000 in prize money he won during the season. Two Taiwanese casters who appeared on the broadcast have also been fired.

Blizzard said Blitzchung’s statement violated a tournament rule forbidding players from doing anything that “brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard’s image.”

Blizzard’s decision to ban blitzchung comes after the NBA distanced itself from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who tweeted (and then deleted) support for the Hong Kong protesters. Media companies in China, including Tencent (which has a 4.9 percent stake in Activision Blizzard), said they will temporarily suspend NBA preseason broadcasts following Morey’s tweets.

Correction: We’ve updated this story with the correct order of blitzchung’s name.