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Lionel Messi Faces Criticism for Backing Chinese Firm Accused of Spying

2024-03-09 22:09:46.401000

The controversy surrounding football superstar Lionel Messi has taken another twist as he faces criticism for his association with a Chinese firm accused of spying. Messi has been promoting several apps and video games that are part of China's network of censorship and surveillance. One of the companies he collaborated with is Tencent, which has been described by Human Rights Watch as being 'part of the Chinese government's censorship and surveillance' [fc00976e]. In November 2022, Messi promoted PUBG Mobile, a video game developed by LightSpeed Studios, a subsidiary of Tencent Games. He also appeared in television advertisements for WeChat, a social media platform owned by Tencent. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International UK have criticized Messi for lending his star power to Tencent and potentially giving them valuable credibility [fc00976e]. Messi, however, has denied that his absence from a match in Hong Kong was politically motivated and clarified that he no longer has a relationship with Tencent, as his PUBG deal ended after the 2022 World Cup [fc00976e].

This new development adds another layer to the controversy surrounding Messi's absence from the friendly match in Hong Kong. It raises questions about the potential implications of his association with a Chinese firm accused of spying, particularly in the context of China's increasing influence in the global technology sector. The criticism faced by Messi highlights the complex intersection of sports, politics, and business, and the challenges faced by athletes when navigating these realms [fc00976e].

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