I will try to be as polite as I can and not to use any dirty languages in this thread.
Though I don’t play Blizzard game as often, the news still managed to bump into my news app yesterday. What makes people furious about the situation is not one particular event but a sequence of them for the past week. The ban of South Park, NBA and Blizzard’s unacceptable reaction to the Hong Kong player in Hearthstone who was only expressing his free will.
As a mainland Chinese, I want to thank all freedom-loving people in this community for shouting out for what is the most precious in our societies, Liberty and Justice. For years, I haven’t seen such level of unified opinion on any issue on reddit. Unlike an game update or a new mechanism being brought to the game, one cannot stay neutral on the question of Good and Evil. As pluralistic and divided as our societies have become, when Winnie the Pooh is at the gate, the recent events sound the alarm, United We Stand. The moral integrity of free speech is self-evident.
I am inclined to discuss the situation in a more informative manner which can help you better understand the so called self-censorship and Grand Foreign Propaganda strategies of the Chinese Communist Party.
Level of free speech is descending in China in an horrifying speed. In 1990s, Chinese kids were able to watch all kinds of foreign cartoon and anime on state-run television. At the time, Chinese people did not need a VPN to get on foreign website. The amendment of our constitution which removed the term limit of President Xi officially marked the end of the era of limited freedom.
The communist government does not have enough labor and resources to delete each and every post which pose a threat to their authoritarian rule, so instead, they delegate the responsibility to private sectors to censor those sensitive contents. The Ministry of Propaganda, which is not part of the government but a party organization, sets up several standards and guidelines to private companies to conduct self-censorship. The guideline is very vague and includes certain requirements such as banning contents which threatens national security and promote territorial separatism. In the States, such standard may only strictly apply to Edward Snowton and still remain highly controversial among public discourse. In China however, any opinion which shows sympathy to the Hong Kong students is an action that promote territorial separatism. In a nutshell, the communist party has an unlimited judicial discretion on defining the threat to national security.
Companies are troubled by the vague standard of self-censorship. The trend of party ideology is changing and such standard can be applied by the party in different level of rigidity. If a company is being too tolerant to free speech and break the vague standard of the communist party, it will face severe sanctions or even forcible shutdown of their websites in China. Due to high financial incentives, No company wants to take the risk of being even a little bit more liberal if they want to do business in China. That is the reason why usually when the Party’s censorship level is 1, the companies’ self-censorship level is 2 or 3(more rigid).
To provide a contemporary example of the overreaction of self-censorship, after NBA incident happened, many Chinese companies who have business tie with NBA immediately pull out of the business deal voluntarily. One major state-run media(Global Time) actually stood out and inform the companies that they should not overreact in such a manner because Chinese fans still want to buy Nike shoes and enjoy NBA games in China.
In Hearthstone’s particular circumstance, the competitor used the phrase“光复香港，时代革命！”which did not include any form of proposal for Hong Kong independence but he then got punished by Blizzard’s self-censorship.
The most ridiculous aspect of Blizzard’s self-censorship is the firing of Taiwanese commentator who did not make any comment regarding to the speech of the HK competitor. Like what I have illustrated above, if the communist government wants censorship lvl 1, companies will do it at lvl 3.
Grand Foreign Propaganda
Since Xi Jinping took power, the communist party has made tremendous effort on propaganda overseas other than establishing Confucius Schools around the globe. According to many estimates, the party spends tenth-billions of dollars on overseas propaganda to reshape the government’s image. This great volume of money is being spend on foreign professors, businessmen and politicians to say good things about Chinese government on news outlet and internet.
Besides, the government channels its fund through Chinese private enterprises to infiltrate American movie industries. If you all remember one of the transformers movies which the final battle happened in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong government called the Communist Central government for help and the latter was portrayed as the defender of humanity in that movie.
On Twitter, Youtube and Facebook, there have been a sharp increase of fake accounts with insufficient profiles that are constantly taking pro-communist stand in every comment section of China-related videos. I personally found out that many of them copy and paste the same response for dozens of times a day under one or few videos.
To the Free World
As our societies and politics going so polarized these days, the communist party considers the circumstance to be a great opportunity for them to further divide the free world. As a mainland Chinese, I sincerely apologize to the people of this community, those whose fundamental values are insulted by blizzard and the CCP, it is unfortunate that the last generation of Chinese did not solve communism in 1989. On this issue, as a Chinese but more importantly as a conscious human being, I condemn Blizzard for being CCP’s lapdog. Such astonishing resistance from the people of the community demonstrates that Democracies also have teeth and claws, and just like the motto of the United States says, when the world comes to defending liberty and justice,
E pluribus unum. From many, one.
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