It must be tough to be a Chinese gamer. After having every game with a gangster in it getting banned back in July, their terrific communist government strikes again: on October 1, the Chinese government launched a campaign to eliminate illegally operated games featuring content they deem “unhealthy.”
So far, over 200 games have been investigated, and forty-five have been straight-up banned. Many more were given a time limit in which to clean up their acts. Apparently, they were operating from outside China without prior approval. And that, in the eyes of the Chinese government, is a no-no.
The banned games “encouraged players to engage in illegal activities such as drug trafficking and prostitution” according to the Beijing News. So, that knocks out Grand Theft Auto, Saint’s Row, and pretty much all the other fun, M-rated sandbox games. (As well as Drug Wars on my trusty old TI-83 graphing calculator!)
This ban is particular to online games, however. With 338 million Internet users in the country (the most of any in the world, and more than the ENTIRE population of the United States), there’s bound to be somebody playing a naughty game on the Internet. But China doesn’t like that.
The Chinese government has had plenty of censorship issues in the past, especially in regards to content that is critical of its government, or content that even might breed dissension amongst its people. According to Yahoo!: “Last month, authorities announced that all songs posted on music websites must receive prior approval and foreign lyrics must be translated into Chinese.” Seems a little excessive, doesn’t it?
But wait, there’s more! Just announced yesterday, another decree: foreign investors are now banned from “operating online games ‘in any form’ in the country.” No wholly owned enterprises, no joint ventures, and no cooperatives. Nothing.
Also, domestic Chinese online game operators are no longer allowed to keep online game sites running without a pre-approval from the Chinese government. Having fun in China appears to have just gotten a lot more difficult.
And that’s assuming it was an easy thing to do before.
The crackdown on online gaming launched on October 1, 2009, the 60th anniversary of the founding of communist China by Mao Zedong back in 1949.
Two questions: what’s next for China? And how can we make sure these oppressive measures never get applied in America “for the good of the government?” For now, we can just keep an eye on this story’s developments…