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It seems that a number of pro-China Hearthstone accounts are trolling the game’s official leaderboard. Weeks after the Hearthstone Hong Kong controversy first unfolded, a number of players who lean favorably towards China have elected to express themselves through the medium of their battletag.
A submission on the game’s official subreddit titled “They are breeding” shows an image of the #1 and #2 spots of each leaderboard being occupied by an account with the name “HKisChinese”. If this is particularly difficult for you to decipher, this can be interpreted as “Hong Kong is Chinese,” referring to the opinion that the autonomous region fully belongs to China. Here is what the top ten of all three regional leaderboards for Hearthstone look like at the time of writing:
Here are the positions occupied on the leaderboard with the name “HKisCHINESE” at the time of writing:
Per treaty, Hong Kong is supposed to retain its status as a special administrative region for 50 years after the British handover in 1997; simply put, that would mean that it would not fully come under Chinese law until 2047. However, the attempt to push a law that would allow extradition to China has been seen as some as an overreach of power from the mainland, spurring the latest wave of protests in the country that have been ongoing for more than a month.
These protests led to the situation where Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai decided to state a pro-Hong Kong message during a post-match interview on an official livestream, something that initially led to a 12-month ban and forfeiture of all of his winnings. Outcry from the fan base and fellow high-level Hearthstone players contributed to Blizzard reinstating his winnings and reducing the punishment to 6 months.
Blizzard’s code of conduct when it comes to battletag names requires that they are “appropriate and inoffensive,” but it also notes that the acceptability of names are “determined by player reports and Blizzard’s decision.”