A professional Magic: The Gathering player donned the red face covering worn by protesters in his hometown of Hong Kong as he took the stage at the Mythic Championship this weekend, showing his support for the pro-democracy demonstrations there.
Lee Shi Tian, whose aggressive red deck play earned him a spot in Mythic's top eight, took to the stage after his win to speak with one of the presenters.
"Life has been very tough in my hometown, in Hong Kong," he said through his scarf, breathing hard from exhilaration and emotion. As he explained his high-damage winning round, Tian trailed off for a moment, only to exclaim, "It feels so good to play as a free man!"
Here's the clip, via Kotaku (opens in new tab):
Tian has not faced sanctions from Wizards of the Coast for his expression of support for the Hong Kong protests. That would normally come as no surprise, but in recent weeks we've seen Blizzard face a massive backlash after it removed Hearthstone pro Chung "blitzchung" Ng Wai from the Grandmasters and fined him his season two prize earnings (a decision the company later partially reversed). Meanwhile, the ESL's co-chief executive, Ralf Reichert, has told staff to avoid engaging in any online discussion about Hong Kong or the protests there.
Following his win at Mythic, Tian tweeted (opens in new tab) his appreciation for his supporters.
"Thanks everyone supported me, Hong Kong, freedom of speech and democracy," he wrote. "It has been a tough period for me but it also motivated me to shine brighter."
While he doesn't feel like his chances of winning are great when everyone else is using Oko, Thief of Crowns, Tian said, "I already did what I wanna do."