The Magic: the Gathering community spans nearly every continent and country in this world and represents an incredibly diverse group of global citizens. While we’re all here to celebrate and cherish the hobby we love so dearly, sometimes world events affect members of our community so deeply that we all feel it. This is one of those times.

Four months ago, I wrote an article about the origin of the protests happening right now in Hong Kong. Since then, those of us in Hong Kong have made a clear list of five demands to the government:

  1. Complete withdrawal of the extradition bill from the legislative process
  2. Retraction of the “riot” characterization
  3. Release and exoneration of arrested protesters
  4. Establishment of an independent commission into police conduct and use of force during the protests
  5. The implementation of universal suffrage for Legislative Council and Chief Executive elections

The Last Four Months in Hong Kong

Four months have passed since the protests began and none of these five demands have been fulfilled.

Instead of answering our demands, the government has been trying to suppress Hong Kongers with different illegal means. I am not going to spend much time detailing what has happened, but you can find the info on this protest website.

If you find that the site has a bit too much information to take in, here are two key incidents:

July 21, 2019: Yuen Long Attack

A mob of over 100 armed men dressed in white indiscriminately attacked civilians on the streets and passengers in the Yuen Long MTR station, including the elderly, children, black-clad protesters, journalists, and lawmakers.

August 31, 2019: Prince Edward Station Attack

A Special Tactical Squad stormed the Prince Edward station and beat and pepper-sprayed the commuters inside. Rumors have been circulating that several protesters were beaten to death at the station. Amnesty International Hong Kong called for an investigation into the police conduct. Protesters besieged the Mong Kok police station to condemn the police brutality on August 31 and to demand that the MTR Corporation release the CCTV footage of that night but MTR refused. The event was described as the police version of the 2019 Yuen Long attack and the police were criticized as acting like terrorists.

Meanwhile, lots of people have stepped up to report sexual assaults and other exercises in police brutality committed by the Hong Kong police force. We see all the abuse and torture of protestors by the police after arrests are made. The fact that only around 20% of the protesters have been charged (out of over 2,000 protesters arrested) shows that the police force have no plan to legally charge the protesters.

The police are alleged to have colluded with mobs like those in the Yuen Long Attack and show bias towards them in carrying out their law enforcement duties. Multiple times they have arrested the protesters being attacked instead of the mob attacking the protesters.

As Hong Kong turns into a police state, the protesters have decided they have to take extra steps to protect the Hong Kongers. People refuse to call the police when there are incidents and try to solve them on their own. The demands for the establishment of an independent commission of inquiry into police conduct have now escalated to the request for dismissal of the police force.

On October 4, the government invoked the Emergency Regulations Ordinance to impose an anti-mask law to ban wearing face masks in public gatherings in an attempt to curb the ongoing protests. But the introduction of Emergency Regulations naturally pushed the protest to the next level—Hong Kongers are not going to back down until justice prevails and fundamental human rights are protected.

International Attention

The beauty of this movement is that many people all ages from all walks of life are involved. The fight for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong has been getting international attention as well. This week, for example, the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 has passed the US Congress.

At the same time, I never expected that playing professional Magic as a free man would be a luxury. But look at what happened to the Hearthstone Grandmaster Blitzchung after he voiced support for the Hong Kong protests in a post-match interview. Blizzard chose money over freedom of speech by deciding to punish both the casters and Blitzchung. The American University team who gave their support to Blitzchung have been suspended as well. And now the whole community keenly waits to see what Blizzcon will look like as the #BoycottBlizzard campaign continues.

American University students hold a sign supporting the Hong Kong protests on an official Hearthstone stream.

We also saw Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweet about supporting Hong Kong. While the NBA Chief Adam Silver backs Morey’s right to freedom of speech, we have also seen both the Houston Rockets organization as well as players like James Harden and LeBron James decide that money has a higher priority to them than basic human rights. This has helped people realize that universal values like freedom of speech and democracy are always at risk of being sold out by such hypocrites.

I thought it was Hong Kong’s privileged elite selling us out, but apparently they aren’t the only ones doing so. Blizzard has a slogan of “every voice matters” and LeBron James was been outspoken about social justice issues, yet when it comes to money, it seems they are more than happy to stay silent. This is simply not right.

Let’s be realistic—the issues we’re fighting against in Hong Kong are happening all around the world right now! I don’t know for sure what the future of the movement in Hong Kong is but I am certain Hong Kong is not the only place suffering from human rights abuses right now. If our efforts fail to defend fundamental human rights of Hong Kong it will not be long before this becomes the world’s problem, too.

Don’t let Hong Kong’s today become the world’s tomorrow.

Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.

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