Punishment cut for gamer who supported Hong Kong protests
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U.S. game publisher Blizzard Entertainment will reportedly reduce the penalty levied against a gamer for publicly endorsing Hong Kong’s ongoing pro-democracy protests amid a public backlash against the company.

Last week, Blizzard Entertainment said it would suspend Hong Kong-based player Chung Ng Wai from competing in esports for a year and revoke his prize money after he endorsed the demonstrations in a post-game interview.

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On Saturday, Blizzard announced it had “reacted too quickly” and would reduce the suspension to six months and let Chung keep the prize money, according to Reuters.

Blizzard President J. Allen Brack said Chung had violated rules and would still have to be punished in some form.

“I want to be clear: our relationships in China had no influence on our decision,” Brack said, according to Reuters.

Blizzard’s parent company, Activision Blizzard, is partly backed by Tencent Holdings, a Chinese conglomerate, the news service noted.

Blizzard’s initial decision came under heavy criticism, with numerous western players, commentators and fans accusing the publisher of bowing to pressure from Beijing and pledging to end their relationships with the company over its decision.

The NBA has also been criticized for its hesitation to criticize China, a lucrative television market, amid growing concerns about potential violent crackdowns against the months-long series of demonstrations in Hong Kong.

A now-deleted, pro-Hong Kong tweet by the Houston Rockets’ general manager sparked the latest criticism from Beijing.