Hong Kong player Chung "blitzchung" Ng Waig, a Hearthstone Grandmaster, appeared over the weekend on an official Taiwanese Hearthstone live stream for a post-game wrap-up, wearing protestor attire, the same attire that would be found at the Hong Kong riots, reported Kotaku.
During the live stream, he screamed in Chinese: "Liberate Hong Kong, a revolution of our age!"
The live stream hosts immediately cut the feed, and it was reported shortly thereafter that game developer Blizzard, pulled blitzchung's cash winnings to avoid controversy in China.
As soon as blitzchung made the pro-Hong Kong protest statement, the hosts of the live stream hid under a desk.
One of the hosts said, "Ok, that's it, Blitz bro," as the production team killed blitzchung's feed -- and the live stream shortly ended with a commercial break.
Blizzard knew severe political consequences were ahead in China if it allowed blitzchung to go unpunished.
The game developer issued a statement shortly after the incident that said blitzchung violated a competition rule, which states:
2019 HEARTHSTONE® GRANDMASTERS OFFICIAL COMPETITION RULES v1.4 p.12, Section 6.1 (o)
Engaging in any act that, in Blizzard's sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image will result in removal from Grandmasters and reduction of the player's prize total to $0 USD, in addition to other remedies which may be provided for under the Handbook and Blizzard's Website Terms.
Blizard said the player had been removed as a Grandmaster from the game, his cash prize, and participation in Hearthstone esports will be suspended "for 12 months beginning from Oct. 5th, 2019, and extending to Oct. 5th, 2020".
Blizzard also said they terminated the hosts of the official Taiwanese Hearthstone live stream.
"While we stand by one's right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules," the statement said.
This comes at a time when Hong Kong protests intensified over the weekend. Protesters took to the streets on Saturday and Sunday in another round of violent clashes with police.
It's already been a rocky start to the week for anyone speaking their minds on Hong Kong.
We reported earlier on Tuesday, China's state broadcaster, CCTV, canceled broadcasts of NBA games in China after Daryl Morey tweeted (then swiftly deleted) a message of support for the Hong Kong protesters.