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Mei (Overwatch) seems to be developing quite the pro-Hong Kong fan art following

Oct 25, 2017
2,082
If you haven't already, you'll want to read up on the controversy over Blizzard's punishment of a Hearthstone Grandmasters competitor from Hong Kong, Blitzchung, after he expressed solidarity with the Hong Kong protests in a post-game interview. The OP has been updated with a summary of developments and links to media coverage for those of you catching up (credit: Lump). It may be the biggest story in the industry this week, but it has moved so rapidly that anyone could be forgiven for feeling a little disoriented and overwhelmed.

But I thought one particular subplot was worth spinning off into its own thread.

Within a day of Blitzchung's ban, Hong Kong protestors and their supporters devised a tactic to reclaim Mei, the Chinese playable character in Overwatch, as a pro-democracy symbol. One of the most prominent examples that has appeared so far is this popular edit of "Rise and Shine" (YouTube link), the official animated short featuring Mei that Blizzard released in 2017 (original).


Here is the thread on /r/HongKong where this idea gained momentum and citizen artists got to work. This one was particularly well received:



A quick, partial interpretation. In the top right, you see the slogan that Blitzchung recited in Mandarin on the stream to incite all this in the first place: 光復香港 時代革命 ("Liberate Hong Kong — revolution of our time"), the most commonly heard slogan of the movement. The bottom right reads: "Five demands, not one less"—referring to the five core demands of the protestors, only one of which has been met, the withdrawal of the China extradition bill that sparked the initial round of protests in June before the situation in the city rapidly escalated due to a concerted campaign of police brutality. The gas mask, of course, alludes to Blitzchung's actions on the stream and the signature gear of the protestors, and has a particular significance in light of the recent declaration of emergency powers to ram through a ban on face masks in public assemblies, which has predictably been employed as a pretext for arbitrary arrests.



Why Mei?

Let's explain, as the logic might be puzzling at first glance.

The main objective of this tactic is to force a confrontation between Blizzard and China. On the mainland, Chinese government censors have a pattern of cracking down quickly on anything that could be read as a subversive symbol—most famously in their years-long ban of Winnie the Pooh in response to popular depictions of AA Milne's iconic bear as resembling Chinese president Xi Jinping. By laying claim to the face of China in Overwatch, the movement seeks to make her image indistinguishable from a subversive communication, daring the Chinese censors to respond, and testing Blizzard's complicity with PRC demands to its breaking point.

Furthermore, it did not go unnoticed among those in the Era thread—this being a forum where people seem to have an alarming level of knowledge about VA performers—that this is doubly subversive because Elise Zhang, the voice of Mei, is known to be a pro-China nationalist who doesn't stray from the party line of downplaying Chinese humanitarian atrocities, and is certainly in no position to complain. (This isn't really a stated objective, so far as I can tell; more of a serendipitous bonus. Zhang is hardly a severe example of this, and certainly isn't alone among China-aligned performers and celebrities in being an apologist for the country: a typical, more notorious case is that of Liu Yifei, the lead in Disney's live-action remake of Mulan, who has vocally expressed her support for police actions in HK from her comfortable position of safety as an American citizen.)

I hope this synopsis is helpful, as we can all expect a torrent of political art featuring Mei in the days to come. Feel free to share your own findings in the thread.

 
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Ada

Member
Nov 28, 2017
1,693
More Activision titles need to be associated with pro HK ideology. Activision can't have their cake and eat it too. When everything gets banned on the mainland maybe they will come to their senses.
 

Rotobit

Editor at Nintendo Wire
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
4,765
More Activision titles need to be associated with pro HK ideology. Activision can't have their cake and eat it too. When everything gets banned on the mainland maybe they will come to their senses.
Xi as Diablo probably makes the most sense next, all things considered.

Besides that, adopting the Hearthstone card template as a generalized meme border, Crash Bandicoot as a symbol of anarchy being stickered on lamp-posts around the city, photoshopping in Aku Aku masks... Whole lotta potential.

Hell I'd argue doing the same to any IP from a company that's kowtowing to the CCP, make it so the censors can't even keep up.
 

Aleh

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,922
Associate everything possible to it, that’s the best way I can think of to piss them off. Deserved.
 

i-hate-u

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,374
Blizzard is just going to remove Mei from the game to appease their Chinese overlords, which I see as an absolute win .
 

apocat

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,825
This is so good. Either Actiblizzion will have to remove Mei from the game or themselves from the chinese market, forcing them to take a very overt political stance either way.
 
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Zehzin

Member
Jan 3, 2019
1,424
I think it would've been better for their cause if they picked a character who isn't literally the devil.
 

DFG

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,011
I hate how my GOTY, Sekiro was published by fucking Activison. Whyyyy
 

Oheao

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
7,745
London, Ontario, Canada
This is funny.

However, I must say that the Winnie the Pooh "ban" must not be enforced very well because while in Beijing (the capital), I saw people with Winnie the Pooh shirts and vendors openly selling Winnie the Pooh memorabilia.
 

Arkanim94

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,293
This is funny.

However, I must say that the Winnie the Pooh "ban" must not be enforced very well because while in Beijing (the capital), I saw people with Winnie the Pooh shirts and vendors openly selling Winnie the Pooh memorabilia.
Those tipe of ban are impossible of enforce effectively, it's not about the end result most of the time, but the message the ban carries.
 

KoolAid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,283
So the objective here is to get Overwatch banned so Blizzard doesn't have to bootlick anymore? It's a nice way to get to it, I guess.
 

Ashlette

Member
Oct 28, 2017
915
That one image with pepe the frog is strange, considering that he's the co-opted mascot of the "alt-right", a hate group that dehumanizes minorities.

I can't help but feel that something is up with that one.

EDIT: I was ignorant. See QuixoticNeutral's reply to this post.
 
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OP
OP
QuixoticNeutral
Oct 25, 2017
2,082
That one image with pepe the frog is strange, considering that he's the co-opted mascot of the "alt-right", a hate group that dehumanizes minorities.

I can't help but feel that something is up with that one.
Quick and dirty explanation: while the presence of Pepe the Frog should rightly alarm those of us who saw how he was deployed by 4chan Trumpists in the west, some Hong Kong protestors have made an overt effort to reclaim the symbol in a context where there were never such connotations. Here is a good article about this, for those interested.

You will doubtless see certain elements in the American alt-right point to this and try to claim the Hong Kong movement as their own, but anyone who has been following HK closely knows that the movement isn't the property of any external ideology and is in fact a vast local coalition of shared interests, organized around the five demands.
 
Apr 14, 2018
3,053
This is honestly a great way to put pressure on companies doing business there: by forcing IPs to become state-criticizing memes and get them banned when the genocidal fuckface Xi sees them
 

SasaBassa

Member
Oct 25, 2017
948
Very clever move and a good way to force the two parties to make a real move.

Cynic in me thinks they'll send dmcas lmao
 

Samemind

Member
Oct 25, 2017
448
That one image with pepe the frog is strange, considering that he's the co-opted mascot of the "alt-right", a hate group that dehumanizes minorities.

I can't help but feel that something is up with that one.
 

Ashlette

Member
Oct 28, 2017
915
Quick and dirty explanation: while the presence of Pepe the Frog should rightly alarm those of us who saw how he was deployed by 4chan Trumpists in the west, some Hong Kong protestors have made an overt effort to reclaim the symbol in a context where there were never such connotations. Here is a good article about this, for those interested.

You will doubt less see certain elements in the American alt-right point to this and try to claim the Hong Kong movement as their own, but anyone who has been following HK closely knows that the movement isn't the property of any external ideology and is in fact a vast local coalition of shared interests, organized around the five demands.
Ah I didn't know this. Digging Matt Furie's approval too.
 

iksenpets

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,758
Dallas, TX
Turning any Chinese nationalist imagery into the next Winnie the Pooh through memes and parody or whatever is probably a pretty smart way to combat China’s attempt to internationalize their censorship laws. China’s worked hard to get a lot of Chinese imagery in front of people, so coopting instances of Chinese cultural export to support actual rights for Chinese people instead of the pure interest of the Chinese State is good.
 

*Guaraná

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,009
its very interesting to see how the current USA antagonist gets portraited in pop culture.
i remember when everything that was wrong in the world would come from Russia/USSR.

those fan arts are awesome, btw.