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Political unrest cancels Chinese gaming tournaments

Organisers fear hosting anime show could be target of crowd aggression

Two Intel-sponsored e-sports events in China have been cancelled after political unrest forced the hosting anime expo to abort the show plans for fear of attracting anti-Japanese sentiment and the crowd violence which has accompanied it in China recently.

A League of Legends and a Starcraft II event had been planned for the Intel Extreme Masters event at the Anime Comics and Games Convention, something which has been held peacefully in previous years. However, an ongoing dispute over a small chain of islands in the East China sea, which Japan plans to buy from its Japanese private owner, but which are also claimed by China and Taiwan.

Because of the dispute, crowds in China have gathered to express anger at Japanese manufacturers, families and even outlets such as sushi restaurants. Several premises, such as Japanese car garages and factories, have been set on fire or otherwise vandalised.

The risk of attracting a similar response at an event which celebrated a largely Japan-focused cultural medium was deemed to be too high.

"We were all looking forward to going to China yet again as last year's tournament in Guangzhou, at the same venue, was a great success for us," said organiser Michał Blicharz.

"We are terribly sorry to disappoint esports fans that were expecting to enjoy the event, especially all Chinese esports fans. Unfortunately, the circumstances that forced the cancellation upon us were entirely beyond our control, though we understand and respect the decisions made by the Anime Comics and Games organizers."

Players who had already arranged travel to the event will be compensated for their expense.

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Dan Pearson