Companies must stand for something


Joshua Sussman, Staff Columnist

Mixing cowardice with greed the spineless penny-pinching that seeks to justify a refusal to make any sort of stand on any sort of matter beyond its own bottom line – may be one of the absolute worst things a company can do. It is disgusting, this particular kind of cowardice, and Activision-Blizzard displayed it in full.

These spineless, gutless, pathetic worms have proven themselves willing to capitulate to the authoritarian government of China and censor the citizens of other countries. A man called out for the freedom of Hong Kong on a live stream of one of their games, and what does Activision-Blizzard do? They ban him from playing for a year, confiscate his winnings and fire the commentators of the match who did nothing, all in the name of money. 

The Chinese market is worth billions of dollars. It doesn’t matter that the government tortures innocent people. It doesn’t matter that it lies to its own citizens and lashes out at any form of defiance. It does not matter that people are being killed en masse in Chinese concentration camps as we speak.

All that matters is the money – the billions that can be made by bowing to Beijing and proving one’s willingness to censor all forms of free speech, of free thought, in the name of the People’s Republic.

The internet, thankfully, has not taken this lying down. They have seized upon Activision-Blizzard’s evil act. Online protests, employee walkouts and attempts at making Blizzard’s own characters symbols of the Hong Kong protests in an effort to get them banned from there are just a few of the actions taken by those fed up with this sort of corporate greed.

The news has caught wind of it. Stories are beginning to circulate. Outrage is beginning to spread. Politicians are starting to get involved, and people across the political and socioeconomic spectrum are noticing.

But, it won’t do any good. Nothing will change. Activision-Blizzard will continue to capitulate to China, who will continue to dominate or buy into more and more companies. The Chinese market is too strong, too well-oiled, too lucrative for anything else to happen. Capitalism will stab itself in the back in its efforts to court the communist market.

We should protest. We should fight back, or at least try to. The idea of China using its economic power to force companies in other countries to capitulate to its demands is a terrifying one. To allow the Chinese government to become the next world superpower is to allow the world to slide downwards into an age of totalitarianism and barbarism two things we had hoped to leave behind. We should protest and rant and rave about all of this madness, but we should realize we will see little change because of it. China is powerful and on the other side of the world from us; they know they can afford the Twitter rants and Facebook posts from random strangers. It’s the companies and public figures that should try to fight back, for they are the ones that have the power. But they won’t. The companies are too scared, the celebrities too apathetic. All the buzz happening now will vanish, like all internet outrage, and China will continue to slowly take over the world.

God help us all.