Chinese Overwatch teams are boycotting a South Korean player who called out Chinese policies

    
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And chill.

Another year, another furor involving Blizzard, boycotts, China, and livestream remarks. Sounds familiar, eh? Well, the situation is a little bit different this time around, as it’s some of the Overwatch league teams themselves that are in a tizzy over a fellow competitor.

In this situation, it started last month when South Korean Overwatch pro Jong-ryeol “Saebyeolbe” Park, who plays for Seoul Dynasty, made several critical and mocking remarks against the Chinese government on livestreams. Park was critical of the country’s lack of free speech and referred to the sovereignty of Hong Kong and Taiwan, which triggered a wild backlash from Chinese players in his division. Now, several Chinese Overwatch teams are threatening a boycott of any tournaments that put Park on the roster.

“I can’t say Taiwan and [Hong Kong],” Park said in the original videos (as translated by the OWL translator). “At all. They [China] don’t recognize them as countries. I got into so much trouble for saying their names.”

“Make it make sense. What are you talking about, ‘One China?’ So I objected to that and all the managers said, ‘If you want to earn Chinese money, you have to become a Chinese dog.’ […] So that’s what I’m doing right now. I can even say, ‘Thanks for subscribing’ in Chinese. Aren’t I good at Chinese?”

He has since recanted his statements and apologized for voicing his opinions, but this does not seem to be affecting the proposed boycott.

Van Yang, the manager of Chinese team Shanghai Dragons, complained about both the existence and content of the comments while rebuffing the apology, insisting that, “As a well-treated and loved public figure in China, [Park] should understand his public position, assume his own social responsibilities, focus on competition instead of arbitrarily making bad statements that challenge the sovereignty of other countries.”

As Foreign Policy notes, “This sort of backlash will be an increasing problem for any sport with a significant Chinese presence, as it was for the NBA two years ago after a tweet by an association executive. Domestic pressures in China mean that Chinese teams can’t afford to neglect these ultra-nationalist performative gestures, out of fear of being attacked as unpatriotic themselves.”

English-language players on the Overwatch Reddit are broadly supportive of Park. OWL hasn’t made a comment yet.

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Turing fail
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Turing fail

I wonder how much social credit the boycotters received from the CCP for their patriotism?

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Dobablo

Blimey. Boycott over. Public support won? The teams backed down.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/video-games/2021/05/06/overwatch-league-china-boycott-saebyeolbe/

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Schmidt.Capela

Do keep in mind that the South Korean player has already posted a retraction where he essentially said he was wrong so say what he did and strongly suggested he won’t be saying those things again. Which allows the Chinese teams to walk back on the boycott while claiming that they won.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

That’s not quite the order of ops, though. He apologized because of course he did; he was under enormous pressure to do so regardless of what he really thinks. And the Chinese teams upheld the boycott anyway. They only just dropped it after OWL apparently stepped in.

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Schmidt.Capela

I never implied the order, though ;-)

From what I’ve read about doing diplomacy with China, one of the absolute musts is that if you want a deal you should always give them something they can spin as an unquestionable win; my gut feeling is that the OWL sold the already existing apology as that spin-worthy unquestionable win.

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Dobablo

Deleted – My reply had already been said

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Schmidt.Capela

One thing you should be aware of is that the Chinese population seems to be very patriotic, which means criticism of the Chinese government risks a huge backlash even if the government itself doesn’t get involved. The average Chinese person seems to love their country, like its government, and agree with most of its policies.

To put it in context, the Alliance of Democracies Foundation recently commissioned a pool in 53 countries, with 50,000 respondents, that asked, among other things, about how confident the person is about their country being democratic; China was one of the countries that scored the highest in that question, right besides Norway, Switzerland and Sweden, and ahead of the US.

This kind of response isn’t that out of whack when you take into account the current state of the world, mind. Try to start fact-checking certain controversial US political figures in forums dominated by their followers to see which kind of welcome you get.

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Bruno Brito

There was a John Oliver piece on Xi and China and the average chinese citizen really is optimistic about the future. At least for the hard-working average chinese, the CCP seems to function. There’s a lot of difference between internal policy and foreign policy.

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Schmidt.Capela

Under the CCP, in four decades China went from one of the lowest GDP per capita in the world to having a fairly good GDP per capita for a country that is still regarded as in development. Taking into account that, according to the World Bank, China has a better wealth distribution than the US (as well as most, if not all, of Latin America and Africa), the livelihood there has greatly — and continuously — improved during most of the lives of most people alive in China.

(A little caveat about what I said in the previous post: the article where I read about the Alliance of Democracies Foundation pool points that 71% of Chinese think that their country has the right amount of democracy. Meaning that even if they recognize that it might not be fully democratic, they think that making China more democratic would actually be bad for the country and for them.)

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Bruno Brito

(A little caveat about what I said in the previous post: the article where I read about the Alliance of Democracies Foundation pool points that 71% of Chinese think that their country has the right amount of democracy. Meaning that even if they recognize that it might not be fully democratic, they think that making China more democratic would actually be bad for the country and for them.)

This is a good point of discussion, because as seen by DJT and JMB in the US and Brazil, presidentialism has several issues, one of them is that one figure can riddle the entire functioning body of the country with holes of incompetence. China may have that problem but in lesser degree.

A good example is that in Brazil, JMB has pretty much made the entire executive branch a complete joke. So, right now, what’s happening is that on a country of 400 thousand dead by Covid, the executive is doing negationism and criminal workings against the populace, the judiciary is trying to get rid of him and making the country work under this crysis, and the legislative is doing jackshit, being bought by JMB at the same time that they run a political process just to say they’re doing something, and they’ll only do what benefit themselves.

Pff. I wish i was in China right now. I can be dead tomorrow, 3k people going every day.

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Schmidt.Capela

In China, COVID-19 killed “only” 3 per million.
Here in Brazil, it’s already at 1950 per million. It’s killing so many that the Brazilian population is literally shrinking.

Not to mention that by tackling COVID-19 early and vigorously China managed to mostly exterminate the disease inside the country and re-open most of its economy way before the vacines were even ready, making it one of the countries that suffered the least economic disruption from the virus. In essence, empiric evidence from this pandemic, just like that from the 1918 one, shows that the most reliable way to keep the economic damage to a minimum was to aggressively prevent the disease’s spread regardless of the short-term economic damage.

This, BTW, is another reason given for why the Chinese are plenty satisfied with their government; their COVID-19 response was top notch, among the best in the world, much better than that of the USA and every European country (the best ones had a 50x larger per-capita death toll). In different reports I’ve seen news of how government-linked Chinese media was successfully using the failures at containing COVID-19 in the West, and in particular in the US, to convince the Chinese population that more democracy would be bad.

(Worth mentioning that it didn’t require China-levels of lack of democracy to achieve similar results. New Zealand managed to do the same by implementing a 3-months strict lockdown at the start of the pandemic, before the first death in the country, and then keeping international travel down with mandatory quarantine for everyone arriving at the country — and since two women, who were given an exception to the quarantine because they were literally rushing to meet their mother one last time before she died, almost brought the virus again into the country, there’s absolutely no exception to the quarantine. And like China, it kept deaths to a minimum, in New Zealand’s case less than 6 deaths per million, and the economy had almost fully re-opened in the third quarter last year.)

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Brinto Sfj

But I don’t understand how they accept not being able to criticize their own govt.? Their patriotism is extremely blind. I have talked to many chinese face to face who lived in my country and my area for development projects. Their blatant blind narcissistic patriotism is appalling to say the least. In their eyes, there is literally nothing wrong with the way their govt. operates. One of them even said that if CCP wants to kill someone then that person deserved death! What the fuck man? What kind of crazy patriotism is this?

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Bruno Brito

One of them even said that if CCP wants to kill someone then that person deserved death! What the fuck man? What kind of crazy patriotism is this?

You probably missed the nacionalistic wave a while ago. This kind of rethoric was being spouted everywhere. The Chinese are not the only ones who have said thoughts.

My father thought that Bolsonaro and his liberal ilk was a “necessary evil” that would ripple new politics around Brazil, even for the opposition. My friend’s father is a former cop and he thought all police operations in slums are reasonable, and we just had one yesterday that killed 23 people, innocents even.

It’s an extremely common line of thought, not at all outside the realm of existence. How do you think the Salem Witch Trials happened? Or why do you think Bolso still has 25% support? DJT also had some modicum of support. Why do you think US citizens, middleclass and lower class are able to think that free market and liberalism will solve their issues, and listen every day on how “handouts” are evil, even tho there isn’t a single corporation in america that doesn’t make use of tax exemptions?

Stupid people and blind people existed throughout history. And fun fact: We are not immune to being those ourselves. For all the “maturity” and ‘knowledge” i perceive myself having, i found myself being led by the nose several times. It’s a case to case basis that you must understand the finer details to not be led astray.

Not easy.

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Schmidt.Capela

My friend’s father is a former cop and he thought all police operations in slums are reasonable, and we just had one yesterday that killed 23 people, innocents even.

24. With strong evidence that some of those dead were unarmed people executed in cold blood by the police. And disrespecting a Supreme Court decision that no operation in those places should be made without judicial oversight.

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Bruno Brito

Yet we’re having politicians vouching for this shit.

Fascism is just institutionalized violence, and said violence was always present in human societies. This is not new.

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Utakata

Problem with many jurisdictions that roll back civil liberties is that they’re often done with public support and ignorance. Sometimes fanatically so. Everything from Mainland China to the legislature of Arkansas and back again fall under this. It’s depressing really…when part of the issue is really us and has always been so. /sigh

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Bruno Brito

As i said, diplomacy is complicated. So is government. The Chinese government benefitted a LOT of the mainlanders, while being completely inhumane towards tribal people, some religious sects and HK. Black and white judgment is not how you analyze such existences.

( i mean, until they start waging war and trying to conquer Russia while talking about racial cleansing)

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Schmidt.Capela

HK is complicated. Due to the way it was taken by force from China (in a war where the British forced the Chinese government to allow British-led drug trafficking in the country, and took HK to serve as a bastion to enforce Chinese compliance), and how the Chinese government won’t ever allow its citizens to forget about that shameful war, China — and, seemingly, much, if not most, of its population — effectively prefers to see HK burned to the ground than to see it independent, or even autonomous.

(Which is where the calculus of the HK protesters failed badly. From the start they had no chance to win any kind of direct confrontation, because they were against a much more powerful opponent that was willing to pay any price to keep HK in its fold. All that they managed to do was to make China look bad to other countries, but at the cost of losing nearly all the political power and influence the pro-democracy camp had amassed in the previous decades.)

Taiwan is complicated too, just for a different reason. When China had its own civil war — the one that ended with the faction that would become the CCP in power — the losing faction fled to Taiwan and, with the help of foreign governments, held on to the island. It’s kinda like if at the end of the US Civil War the Confederates fled to Florida and managed to keep it with the help of Europe. China would prefer if Taiwan rejoined peacefully, of course, but it seems to also prefer a Taiwan razed to the ground over the idea of an independent, internationally recognized Taiwan.

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Bruno Brito

The concept of razing their own to the ground is for some reason, not uncommon for countries that are prone to not impose their sovereignty besides what they think it’s rightfully theirs. It’s weird. Russia has the same issue where it funds wars and all, but they were going to raze their own country into the ground if it meant both the germans and the turncoats/deserters would get the shaft. I feel like they have the same position towards all former USSR countries. Scorched earth is a reality for them.

I think it’s lack of exposure to soft power and delicate diplomacy.

I also think it’s because these countries also have extremely tight contact towards their past. The communist revolution was around 1917. It hasn’t been nearly a century, Russia was stil an empire and it was a terrible empire at that, to rival the pustulent nobility from the French Revolution. The country was majorly farmlands, people were still serfs, the cities were developing quickly, but the nobility still treated urban people as complete vassals. We’re talking about medics, lawyers, cops, etc etc. Russia for sure remembers life before the revolution and they would not go back there. Hell, Russia nowadays is not an ounce communist, and yet they wouldn’t go back to before the revolution.

The chinese are similar i feel. They have an ancient civilization that was marked by schisms. China was a clump of warring kingdoms and the Chinese fear disorder from fracturing. Also, the Chinese revolution was in 45. And as you said, the CCP improved the mainlanders lives.

This is all really complicated. This western notion of “democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others” doesn’t fit when we’re talking about said different cultures. Society itself is a consensus on leaving some freedoms towards a functioning group of people. Their society is just less consensual and more functioning. The human rights debate should always keep going, tho.

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Schmidt.Capela

The big advantage of democracy is that it allows for the replacement of bad leaders, at the cost of making the country slower to act and less effective in its policies due to internal dissension. It’s certainly better than any dictatorship where the people in power are either incompetent or more interested in enriching themselves than improving their country.

The snag is when the dictator is effective and puts country above personal riches (i.e., they might take a much larger than reasonable share of the country’s riches, but won’t sacrifice the country’s economy or influence in order to do so). In that case a dictatorship can be more effective than democracy. There is a reason why companies are run like dictatorships rather than democracies, you know.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

(Not all companies or successful companies are run like dictatorships.)

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Bruno Brito

I feel like most successful companies are run like parlamentarism, which is the system i would like Brazil to adopt.

I’m all for a democratic parlamentarism, what i don’t want is one person being able to dismantle an entire state. While dictatorships are totally at the whim of the figurehead, it’s not like presidentialism doesn’t have it’s own shares of issues.

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Tee Parsley

Just as a technical aside here later: Historically, several falling dynasties in China also fled to Taiwan. So it’s a known situation.

Of course, after seeing how China carried through on its promises to HK, Taiwanese have to be a bit nervous about a mainland takeover. Arrest, conscription, ‘re-education camps’ thought supression, and so much more.

Lighthope
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Lighthope

Well, any player who doesn’t want to play against Park forfeits the match. Nice and simple.

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Schmidt.Capela

It’s more that any tournament that features him has a big risk of not having Chinese competitors, which in turn means a much lower Chinese audience (if there’s one at all).

In other words, accept him in a tournament roster, and you lose most, if not all, the Chinese revenue. Which for many such tournaments, in particular the Asian ones, could prevent them from being profitable in the first place.

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Bruno Brito

If Park will accept my advice, he should become a Smite player. Smite pretty much gave up on the asian market, but one of the most legendary players is Baskin, a US-Korean player.

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Brinto Sfj

This is why game companies should make it a rule to not talk real life politics. real life religion in their platform, as well as, not allow people to use their platform for real life politics and religious nonsense. Politics and religion is hypocritical and shitty. We play games to stay away from real life shit, we don’t need real life shit shoved down our throats when we game.

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Yo, considering everything can be political, especially in China where something like acknowledging Taiwan or Honk Kong exist is clearly enough to cause a campaign of harassment against you, this is a dumb argument.

Like, nobody is forcing that shit down your throats. You can always turn off a stream or close an article or stop visiting a channel/site. You have the power.

Games and politics, like it or not, aren’t completely inseparable. Especially when you’re talking about global releases and esports leagues that are absolutely playing on a political levels in their respective regions.

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Brinto Sfj

Art imitates real life, that is the beauty of art. But art beautifies the real world, makes it better(or worse depending on opinion) and bearable.
However, blatant political debate in an online game or using the platform of a game company should be prohibited by said company. If someone says “I don’t like this and that in your game!” game companies can just say : “This is a fucking video game!”

And why is every argument needs to be around china? My point was on general approach. If blizzard had policy against using their games and platform for real life political agenda, that korean guy would not dare to start china bashing and chinese would not go ape shit over him. None of these controversy would even occur if that were to be the case. Now look.

And you are going tits up about china, where were you exactly when blizzard banned Catalonian players from wow for protesting against Spain and even removed the Catalon language from their games to appease Spain?

Where were you when they were mass banning players on eu server who initiated in game protest against Israeli aggression on palestine?

These situations did not even come to news media because these situations do not go along with western propaganda.

This kind of bullshit is why game company needs to ban real life political and religious discussion from their game and use of their platform for these issues.

Don’t be a fucking hypocrite.

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Companies can do whatever they want, and if they want to allow players to talk politics on their platform they’re absolutely welcome to. This wasn’t on Blizzard’s platform, they aren’t policing what he says on his personal time.

Why around China? Because that’s the topic of this news dude. Because this is hardly the first time we’ve seen this kind of insane backlash from the Chinese community to perceived sleights regardless of if the streamer is aware that they’re being “offensive” or not.

And he wasn’t “China bashing”. Sure, China refuses to acknowledge Taiwan exists and pretends that Honk Kong doesn’t retain a level of independence as they work towards One China, but that’s a domestic issue. Their propaganda army lashing out at anyone else who may have a different opinion that they voice intentionally/unintentionally is a fuckin problem dude. It would be a problem no matter where the community was based, they just happen to be CCP bootlickers in this instance.

What about the Catalon issue? I haven’t heard of it, actually. This is some bad whataboutism mein duden, but show some links so I can better understand that issue and I’ll likely happily jump on the “Fuck Blizzard” train. I’m already firmly on the “Fuck Blizzard” train over Blitzcheung and far more already, so this seems kinda like a pointless “gotcha”.

“Western propaganda”? Get the fuck outta here, are you posting from CCP computers or some shit? Massively and other MMO sites, and bigger gaming sites, critically cover Blizzard all the time when they fuck up. Like, all the time.

If you don’t like all this stuff, get the fuck off the internet dude. Seriously, just find an intranet that’s a nice safe space for you and stick with that. You don’t appear to be cut out to handle differing opinions.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

He wasn’t in a game or on a game company’s platform. He was on his streaming channel. He also didn’t “China bash.” He criticized Chinese censorship.

Mildly supporting human rights and autonomy shouldn’t be a controversial political position in need of scrubbing.

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Bruno Brito

Art imitates real life, that is the beauty of art. But art beautifies the real world, makes it better(or worse depending on opinion) and bearable.

I’m an artist. Don’t you fucking dare try to teach me about art. Art was ALWAYS political and ALWAYS represented either the past, present or future of a culture. It was present in brazilian music when most artists were exiled under the dictatorship years. It was present in Picasso’s Guernica when a german soldier asked him “was it you who did this awful thing?” and he answered “no, it was you.” It was present when Michelangelo and Leonardo debated if art were supposed to be completely ruled or completely free. It was present when we had artisans, and when mecenas were investing in artists.

Good lord, dude, enter Twitter and look for LGBTQ+ artists. Gender and sexuality issues shouldn’t be politicized but they ARE. And these artists art is also considered political because of that. So are black artists.

For Christ’s sake, think before you say this crap. It’s clear you never picked up a craft in your life.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

Guyyyyyys can we chill, it’s not worth yelling at each other. Y’all are all coming from the same place of caring.

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Bryan Correll

And you are going tits up about china, where were you exactly when blizzard banned Catalonian players from wow for protesting against Spain and even removed the Catalon language from their games to appease Spain?

Well, this is literally the first I’ve heard about that situation. My guess is that few other Americans are aware either. What little I can find with a quick web search indicates that Blizz did not remove support for the Catalan language, they just never implemented it in the first place. Which is a big difference. If you can provide links with details about the situation I’ll have a look, but as it stands I don’t know enough to have an informed opinion.

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Brinto Sfj

Unfortunately, I can’t provide any link on that, I read it on a discord channel of a BDO guild I was in. There were several players from Catalonia there and it was them who said that the language Catalon was removed from blizzard’s games after many of them were banned for staging in game protest in wow. It was quite a long time ago and I no longer have any contact with them because majority of us left that channel as we found out the guild leader was neo nazi.

Bree Royce
Staff
Bree Royce

He wasn’t on a video game company’s platform. He was on Twitch.

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Jeremy Barnes

“which triggered a wild backlash from Chinese Government which forced Chinese players in his division..”

I made it more accurate..

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Bryan Correll

As someone unlikely to receive any of that sweet Chinese money, I feel free to make a few statements. But I will put them behind a spoiler tag for those who do not wish to view profanity.

Spoiler
Fuck the Chinese Communist Party. Fuck them for oppressing their own citizens. Fuck them for their covering-up the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fuck them for the Uyghur genocide and the continuing occupation of Tibet. Fuck them for cracking down on freedoms in Hong Kong. Fuck them for the increasingly threatening actions toward the de facto nation of Taiwan. Fuck them for being the lifeline that keeps the even worse government of North Korea running.

Fuck Xi Jinping for dragging China back into a dark age from which the previous few leaders had slowly but steadily been lifting it.

Fuck ActivisionBlizzard, Disney, the NBA, the WHO, and every other lickspittle company or organization willing to become a ‘Chinese dog.’ Especially fuck such companies that play at being socially conscious to Western consumers while actively aiding oppression in China.

Fuck me for any financial support I give to such companies. I should do better.

Best wishes to the people of those countries under threat from China and to the average citizens of China

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Bruno Brito

Sigh.

This is so exhausting.

Best of luck for Park, and honestly, best of luck for the players which clearly have to perform this shit because of how their government behaves. This kind of backlash clearly will increase considering that every country wants China’s money and alliance, but can’t stand their practices.

Diplomacy really is complicated.

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Danny Smith

‘If you want to earn Chinese money, you have to become a Chinese dog.’

Is that what Bobby said to anyone he gave his phone number to at Blizzard?

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Armsman

Well, I guess now we know where the $200 million in bonuses came form, eh? ;)

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

If you want that sweet Chinese money, you need to lick the CCP boot. And increasingly the boots of the propaganda army they’ve created.

Hope Park doesn’t get harassed (at least too much) over this and it blows over eventually, and he learns the lesson that if he wants to actually be himself he needs to avoid Weibo and the Chinese audience as best he can.

Seems like something Blizzard should be involved with, you know protecting their players and shit, but oh well. Blizzard is likely too busy continuing to nom that CCP boot with a smile on their face. Bunch of freakin cowards in the leadership over there.

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Bryan Correll

Seems like something Blizzard should be involved with, you know protecting their players and shit,

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

I will never stop being impressed with how perfect the casting of JK Simmons for JJ Jameson was. Also, I will forever love JK Simmons for all his fantastic roles, including as Cave Johnson…and now I wanna go back and play through Portal 2 again.

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Brinto Sfj

This guy is a national treasure for america.

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MaynardKeenanX

but wont someone think of the sharehoIders