Blizzard, HK and the Colonization Game

I’m quite aware that it is NaNoWriMo, but I’ve also been dicing with putting my opinions about the whole Free Hong Kong movement into words. So guess what decision I made tonight after sweating it out with Just Dance. I understand that my views are somewhat controversial, but I must remind you that a difference in opinion and failure of acknowledgement between two or more parties is exactly how these protests came to be.

Now I’m sure you’re quite aware of the protests with news being plastered with articles, videos and pictures of Hong Kong and recently, a story of a pro-democracy politician’s ear being bitten off. Protests don’t usually get mentioned alongside video games in the same headlines, but in this case of a Hearthstone player “Blitzchung”, this was enough to cause a stir in the gaming world. Due to mounting pressure from the public (mainly gamers), his initial suspension was reduced and his prize money returned.

I can see the why Blizzard wouldn’t want to be associated with siding such a heavy political view, since China makes up such a large portion of their player base. But at the same time, I still don’t really understand why the commentators of the tournament were fired.

Even across social media, I’ve seen talk about gamers boycotting Blizzard games such as Overwatch. I know they may come with good intentions, but sometimes there is more to the story than meets the eye. As much as I love to support the underdog, it’s too easy to cloud your judgement because you focus on what is happening, rather than why it is happening.

But the fact of the matter is, all that is happening now is a product of colonization. Or more precisely, remnants of colonization. While it is true that Hong Kong has enjoyed some fruits of British rule in the later parts of their lease like economic freedom, we cannot forget about how opium was used to control the Chinese. There was also plenty of corruption amongst those in high power such as government officials and police in the 1960s, which eventually gave birth to its solution, the Independent Commission Against Hong Kong (ICAC).

If you take a look at Hong Kong now, the poorest residents live in flats with spaces that are similar to the size of prison rooms. And that is today. It doesn’t seem that much has changed since the 60s, so I’m not exactly sure how economic freedom really feeds into all of this.

Anyway, I’ll leave you with a quote which pretty much sums up my thoughts from an excellent opinion piece about British rule in Hong Kong:

In this case, people need to take a more objective view of history. British rule in Hong Kong was not a utopia to be glorified and looked back upon. The city was rich, but harsh, in an ironic twist being far more heavy-handed and brutal than its current existence, thus overwhelmingly distant from what young people today, having never lived through it, envision it to be.

– Tom Fowdy, ‘The truth about British rule in Hong Kong’