Overwatch's heroes are extremely recognizable, but now one's likeness is being used as a form of protest. Hong Kong supporters have recently begun posting fan art and images of Mei, a Chinese scientist in the Overwatch universe, to protest Blizzard's recent competitive ruling, hoping to get the company's games banned in China.
Blizzard recently suspended Hearthstone player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai for supporting the ongoing protests in Hong Kong during a post-match interview. It's a ruling that has led to a lot of unrest, both inside the Hearthstone community and across various international forums, even internally at Blizzard.
One rising response to the ruling has been to co-opt the likeness of Mei, who hails from China in the lore, as a symbol of the Hong Kong protests. The theory is that if Mei becomes a symbol of pro-Hong Kong sentiment, then Overwatch could get pulled from China, similar to the way games like Devotion have been taken down in the past.
While its early origins seem to be in the r/HongKong subreddit, the hashtag #MeiWithHongKong has taken off, and fan art of the character supporting the Hong Kong protests is flooding in.
Blizzard banned pro Hearthstone winner for supporting free Hong Kong and took away his prize money. It would be SUCH A SHAME if Mei became a symbol of Hong Kong democracy and got #Overwatch banned in China like Pooh did- Wenqing Yan (@Yuumei_Art) October 9, 2019
#FreeHongKong #MeiWithHongKong #MeiSupportsHongKong pic.twitter.com/yPum1ZTQqH
Protests in Hong Kong started when a bill was introduced that could allow for extradition to China. Several more demands and points of issue have arisen since, with tensions between Hong Kong and mainland China running high.
Blizzard has yet to comment on the ongoing response since the initial ruling.