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'Magic: The Gathering' Pro Uses Win To Support Hong Kong Protests

Ewan Moore

Published 
| Last updated 

'Magic: The Gathering' Pro Uses Win To Support Hong Kong Protests

Featured Image Credit: Wizards Of The Coast

Perhaps inspired by certain recent events, Magic: The Gathering pro player Lee Shi Tian decided to use his recent victory at the game's Mythic Championship to draw further attention to the ongoing protests in his hometown of Hong Kong.

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As reported by Kotaku, Tian appeared onstage wearing a red scarf over his face as a sign of solidarity with the pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong who wear similar masks to protect themselves from tear gas and government surveillance. The player also had one of his covered, in another reference to the resistance.

Credit: Wizards of the Coast
Credit: Wizards of the Coast

During a post-game interview after his victory, Tian said, "Life has been very tough in my hometown in Hong Kong." adding that "it feels so good to play as a free man!"

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Tian was able to share this sentiment without being reprimanded or punished by Magic publisher Wizards of the Coast. Unfortunately, a different experience was recently had by pro Hearthstone player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai, who was punished by Blizzard for expressing a similar sentiment during a post-game interview.

The Hearthstone pro was initially banned from playing the game competitively for one year, and had the prize money he'd earned during the tournament taken away. This sparked global outrage against Blizzard, with many accusing the company of handing out a harsh punishment to the player in an effort to protect its business interests in China.

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After just a few days of intense backlash against Blizzard, and amidst ongoing calls to boycott the company, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack issued a statement confirming the company would return Blitzchung's prize money and reduce his suspension from one year to six months.

Brack also stressed that Blizzard's decision was not politically motivated, arguing that "the specific views expressed by Blitzchung were NOT a factor in the decision we made. I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision."

Regardless of what Blizzard says or does at this stage, there are many who feel it crossed a line with Blitzchung and intend to continue to boycott the company.

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Credit: Wizards of the Coast
Credit: Wizards of the Coast

It's unclear whether Tian had always planned to use his time at the Mythic Championships to bring attention to Hong Kong or if he was emboldened by Blitzchung's story and the Blizzard backlash, but there have been unconfirmed reports that Twitch mods presiding over the Magic stream were specifically told not to touch or remove any mentions of Hong Kong in the chat.

Topics: Magic: The Gathering

Ewan Moore
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