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U.S. Congress Rebukes Blizzard

You know you are catching a lot of heat when you receive a bipartisan rebuke from the U.S. Congress. This is exactly what has happened to Activision Blizzard, as The Washington Post reports on a letter sent to Activision CEO Bobby Kotick criticizing the company's recent punishment of Ng 'blitzchung' Wai Chung for speaking out about Hong Kong after a Hearthstone tournament. This is written by Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and co-signed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), in a rare act of crossing the aisle. There's an image of the letter on Reddit and the text is reproduced on WCCFTECH. Reading through it gives the impression they are unaware that Blizzard has already reduced blitzchung's punishment for the incident. Here's the letter:
We write to express our deep concern about Activision Blizzard's decision to make player Ng Wai Chung forfeit prize money and ban him from participating in tournaments for a year after he voiced support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. This decision is particularly concerning in light of the Chinese government's growing appetite for pressuring American businesses to help stifle free speech.

Activision Blizzard benefits from China's growing market for esports, along with an investment from Tencent, one of China's largest technology firms. As you and your company are no doubt aware, the Chinese government uses the size and strength of its economy to suppress opinions with which it disagrees. Last week alone, the Chinese government targeted Apple for hosting an app to help peaceful demonstrators evade repression and the National Basketball Association because one team's general manager tweeted in support of Hong Kong protests.

Your company claims to stand by "one's right to express individual thoughts and opinions," yet many of your own employees believe that Activision Blizzard's decision to punish Mr. Chung runs counter to those values. Because your company is such of pillar of the gaming industry, your disappointing decision could have a chilling effect on gamers who seek to use their platform to promote human rights and basic freedoms. Indeed, many gamers around the world have taken notice your company's actions, understandably calling for boycotts of Activision Blizzard gaming sites.

As China amplifies its campaign of intimidation, you and your company must decide whether to look beyond the bottom line and promote American values -- like freedom of speech and thought -- or to give in to Beijing's demands in order to preserve market access. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to reconsider your decision with respect to Mr. Chung. You have the opportunity to reverse course. We urge you to take it.