Chongqing Major controversy is a crucial moment for Dota 2

Uncertainty over the future of the Dota 2 Chongqing Major reached a new level this week, with voices from all sides raised to painful pitch. The main point of contention now seems to be whether it is in fact ethical at all to attend the Chongqing Major after the fallout from the Kuku/Skem racism scandal, with people on all sides loudly stating their opinions as to who is in the wrong, who has been wronged, and what everyone should be doing about it.

The tl:dr is that two players used racist language in-game chat, sparking a mess from which there remains no clear resolution. Their teams took some action against them but, with China set to host the next Major in January, the organisers of said event decided the punishment was too light and took matters into their own hands.

Now, as we’ve already covered, there is an issue here that transcends esports and one that is more specific to our own space. The first thing to be said, and the rule that should be golden across all competition, is that government interference in the proper running of a fair competition would result in that nation being banned under the ideal system for running any sport or esport. Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world, but an esports scene dominated by Chinese money.

Prior to the line about not being able to guarantee player safety, there was probably a decent argument to be made for attempting to meet organisers halfway and not create a rift, but at the moment a player is tacitly told the may come to physical harm if they attend any event, that event should be cancelled. That may cost players a small sum in the short term, but the consequence of not doing so could be so much worse in the long term.

The people with the power to solve this issue once and for all are Valve

Allowing the Chinese government to dictate which players can enter the nation without due process is a road that is dangerous for every single game and player out there. Nations such as the US and China dominate certain scenes financially and, to some extent geographically, and to ban people who have no criminal convictions over perceived offence is a base failure of administration. To then also state that you "cannot guarantee their safety" is so far beyond the pale it is almost unbelievable.

The people with the power to solve this issue once and for all are Valve, but money talks and it seems like their famously hands-off attitude toward CSGO is bleeding into Dota. Allowing China to dictate the outcome of this situation might only hurt a few people now but down the line it will create a balance of power that is damaging to all of esports.

That is why those asking for a boycott are right to do so, even if it seems selfish to ask others to sacrifice their spot at a Major - one of Dota’s more important events. With TI9 also due to take place in China, this is a crucial time for the future of the game, and bending over because CN Dota is well funded would be the sort of short-term mistake scenes don’t get to make twice. If an event cannot keep every player safe, it's not fit to host even a single one.