Game publisher Blizzard recently caused a stir by banning Hearthstone champion Blitzchung and confiscating his winnings for verbally supporting his native Hong Kong in a livestreamed post-match interview.
It couldn’t have happened at a worse time for Blizzard. NBA had just thrown Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey under the bus for pro democracy sentiments, and South Park was reportedly being censored in China for making fun of Chinese censorship in the west. Everyone were suddenly talking about Western corporations stamping the Communist Party of China’s boot on the necks of westerners, and a lot of anger had to be channeled somewhere — anywhere.
And while most of the conversation so far has centered on less than half a dozen entities, even a preliminary investigation reveals that capital’s subservience to Chinese money is a far greater issue than a few spineless suits in a handful of companies.
Apple unsurprisingly earns #1 on our list for sheer volume of authoritarian bootlicking. Think Different, indeed.
- Censored Taiwan flag emoji in iOS in HK.
- Banned HK protest map from App Store. Approved app after backlash. Banned app once again after hurting the feelings of the Chinese people.
- Handed over iCloud data & encryption keys to China.
- Downplayed the seriousness of iOS exploits that enabled China to track Uyghurs, China’s Muslim minority.
Entertainment and Sports
- NBA: Rebuked Rockets manager for his pro-HK tweet, saying NBA was “extremely disappointed with Morey’s inappropriate comment.” Backpedaled after backlash, now saying they support Morey’s freedom of speech.
- Philly Sixers: Ejected fans for supporting HK.
- Disney / ESPN: Forbids mention of Chinese politics when discussing Rockets manager’s HK tweet.
- Viacom / Paramount: Censored Taiwan flag from the jacket worn by Tom Cruise in new “Top Gun” movie.
- Disney / Marvel: Censored Tibetan monk from “Doctor Strange” and turned him into a white woman. Movie screenwriter: “if you acknowledge that Tibet is a place and that he’s Tibetan, you risk alienating one billion people who think that that’s bullshit.“
- Disney: Removed non-white characters from Chinese poster of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
- Disney: Blocked “Winnie the Pooh” website in HK.
- MGM: Changed Red Dawn’s villain from China to North Korea to placate China.
- Activision Blizzard: Cut livestream when American University team held up pro-HK sign.
- Riot Games: Censored the name “Hong Kong,” forcing casters to refer to the team “Hong Kong Attitude” as “HKA.” Note: Chinese tech company Tencent fully acquired Riot Games in late 2015.
- Google: Censored pro-HK game “The Revolution of Our Times” from Google Play because it was about a “sensitive event.“
- Reddit: Took $150M from Tencent. Consistently removes/censors threads and topics critical of China. A smaller version of this very list received thousands of upvotes on Reddit before being deleted by the official subreddit r/worldnews.
- TikTok: Censored videos that mention Tiananmen Square, Tibetan independence, and Falun Gong.
- Cisco: Helped build China’s Great Firewall including module to persecute Falun Gong.
- Vans: Censored pro-HK democracy design in its shoe design competition.
- Nike: Removed Houston Rockets products from Chinese web store.
- Tiffany: Removed tweet showing model covering 1 eye after China accused it of supporting HK.
- Zara: Apologized for listing Taiwan as country.
- Gap: Apologized for making a shirt that featured an “incorrect” map of China by not featuring Taiwan or South Tibet.
- Ray-Ban: Changed “Taiwan” and “Hongkong” to “China Taiwan” & “China Hongkong.”
- ASICS, Calvin Klein, Coach, Fresh, Givenchy, Pocari Sweat, Valentino, Versace, Swarovski: Details here.
And the rest
- American, Delta, United: Deleted mention of Taiwan as a country from their websites.
- Marriott: Apologized and changed “Taiwan” to “Taiwan, China.”
- Marriott: Fired employee who liked a tweet from a Tibetan group.
- Cathay Pacific: Fired employees for Facebook posts supporting HK protests.
- Mercedes: Apologized for quoting Dalai Lama on Instagram.
- Audi: Apologized for using an “incorrect” map of China that left off Taiwan.
- Muji: Destroyed store catalogs that contain “incorrect” maps of China.
- Medtronic: Apologized for publishing “illegal content” that listed “Republic of China (Taiwan)” as a country.
- Qantas, Air France, Air Canada, British Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Japan Airlines, ANA: Changed “Taiwan” to “Taiwan China.”
- Sheraton: Banned Taiwan National Day event due to Chinese pressure.
- Princeton: Don’t talk about 3 Ts: Tibet, Tiananmen, Taiwan.
- Leica: Released ad on Tiananmen protest. Apologized & distanced itself from ad.
- Rockhampton, Queensland: Censored Taiwan flag in a student project.
- Coach: Apologized and called it a “serious inaccuracy” after referencing Hong Kong and Taiwan as countries on a shirt.
- Global Blue: Fired staff for calling Taiwan a country.
- L’Oréal / Lancôme: Canceled HK artist concert for her pro-democracy activism.
- US universities: Self-censor in fear of offending China.
- Vox: Takes money from China to publish Chinese propaganda.