Chinese Overwatch teams lift boycott against Saebyeolbe
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The Chengdu Hunters, Shanghai Dragons, Guangzhou Charge and Hangzhou Spark have lifted a boycott of Park “Saebyeolbe” Jong-ryeol. The four Overwatch League Chinese teams had announced the boycott after the Seoul Dynasty hitscan player spoke about China, Taiwan and Hong Kong on his Twitch and DouYu streams.

The boycott against Saebyeolbe

“We have discussed this matter with all teams involved and the learnings that have come from it,” a League spokesperson said. “In the spirit of sportsmanship, and continuing to deliver amazing competition for our fans around the world, the teams have agreed to resume normal activities with one another.” 

Managers from all four teams had issued statements after Saebyeolbe said that players have to be China’s “dog” if teams hope to make money in the region. Additionally, Saebyeolbe said he disagrees with the One-China policy; a policy recognizing that there is only one sovereign state under the name of China. Hong Kong and Taiwan are both part of that state, according to the policy.

All four teams have issued new statements on social media. They will continue operating normally and will compete in upcoming matches. Seoul plays Shanghai on May 30, Chengdu on June 4 and Guangzhou on June 5.

“All teams will be resuming normal activities,” the Seoul Dynasty posted on Twitter. “We look forward to making you proud in our next match.”

The Chengdu Hunters originally began the boycott after beating the Seoul Dynasty on May 2. Ultimately, the team said that they respects the “many emotions” that came up during the situation.

Chengdu and Seoul face off in June

“The only thing we can do is point out the false information in your remarks and convey our position as a Chinese team,” Yiheng “Luke” Qin, Chengdu Hunters’ Vice Manager, said in the original translated statement announcing the boycott. “At the same time, I’ll formally tell everyone that we will boycott all competitions and activities of any kind that the player Saebyeolbe will participate in.”

The next matches in the Overwatch League will take place on Thursday, May 6, 2021.

Aron Garst looks at esports from a different point of view by tackling the ways games are molded and broken by players around the world. He covers Call of Duty, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros, and everything else for Upcomer. You can read his previous work at WIRED, Rolling Stone, ESPN and elsewhere. Rise up red sea.