Newly proposed Chinese gaming regulations target romantic plotlines and sexual content

    
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Love conquers all — except for Chinese gaming regulations, if the recently proposed rules for game content regulation come to pass. The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, has recently published a draft list of proposed rules regarding what kind of content can be shown in Chinese video games of various age ratings.

The proposed regulations, which were formulated through a collaborative effort between the Chinese government and Chinese gaming companies such as NetEase, Perfect World Entertainment, and Tencent, would forbid games from depicting plotlines that “encourage romance” or “hint at sexual behavior” in all games while also squashing any scenarios that allow players to be married in games rated for players ages 16 or under.

Depictions of women in video games will also be targeted by the new rules, which dictate that female characters must wear clothing that “[covers] more than three quarters of their breasts.” You can kiss chain-mail bikinis goodbye as well, thanks to the rule that characters should not “wear clothes that are inappropriate for the environment that they are in.”

Although these new regulatory guidelines “are at an initial stage and will need to go through several rounds of consultation before they are implemented,” this nevertheless seems to be the Chinese government’s next step in exerting tighter control over the country’s gaming industry. The move comes following heightened concerns over gaming addiction and “content that promotes violence or ideologies that are not in line with those advocated by the ruling Communist party,” which last year resulted in the suspension of new gaming license approvals, though the suspension has since been lifted.

Source: Quartz via MMORPG.com

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Fervor Bliss

Women should be ashamed of their anatomy.

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Grave Knight

I both hate and like these regulations. On one hand the game industry as a whole could do with that 2/3 covered breasts rule, and “must wear clothes appropriate to the environment” but also this is most definitely government censorship which is always a bad thing. And, really, can’t encourage romance? Really?

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Baemir

I don’t understand why so many commenters seem to feel a need to justify the Chinese government’s decisions.

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rafael12104

Speaking for myself, I’m not defending it. What I tried to explain is why there isn’t any outrage in mainland China over something like this.

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Doubleplusgood

Thanks to the rule that characters should not “wear clothes that are inappropriate for the environment that they are in.”

All games will now be in a beach setting.
Beachnite! Beach of Warcraft! Lord of the Beach online! Beach Wars!

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rafael12104

Hmm. I’ve been there, spent a lot of time working there and have friends living there now.

It is different. Not vastly different. It’s not night and day. But they view the world from a perspective that is hard for us, in the west, to understand.

A simple example. While I was there I had a chance to talk honestly about government ideology etc. with a few good friends. A great conversation. I, of course, kept coming back to the freedoms we enjoy and sometimes take for granted. Finally, one of them smiled broadly and asks me if I ever considered that maybe we, Americans, are too free.

“Too free?” I laughed and continued our discussion. But later I kept thinking about what she said. And I began to understand.

Most people in China don’t mind sacrificing their liberty for the sake of civility. But they don’t think about it in those terms. For them as long as the government takes care of the sometimes ugly task of running the country they are quite happy living their lives. And that idea is validated every time they see and hear the horrible news reports of mass shootings etc. here in the west.

Now, that may be an oversimplification and a lack of understanding on their part. But they don’t miss what they don’t know, I suppose.

So… when laws like this are handed down, most don’t care. The older generation will nod in agreement while the younger gen may not agree, but the net result is simply that this accepted because they value the health and safety of their country over individual freedom.

That’s not how most of see things. But I thought I would share this as an attempt to explain their point of view.

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Frank White

Granted, you’ve lived there and I haven’t, but I have a hard time seeing a country that forbids 23 million of its people from buying travel tickets because of their low “social credit” rating as not being vastly different. ;)

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cursedseishi

To be fair, it looks far different looking in than it does looking out. I believe that was part of Rafael’s comment. Like he said, it’s a matter of viewpoint. To them, people having a ‘social’ credit score that can help (or mostly hinder) people isn’t a big deal. They are told if you are good you’ll be fine, and if you are bad then you’re punished with a lower score.

From the outside? Yeah, that is a violation of several magnitudes. But for people who have lived in a society where they’ve grown used to restriction, it isn’t a big deal.

It’s also why it has been interesting seeing the recent protests in Hong Kong. Technically they are part of China, but the city is autonomous and allowed to largely exist on their own. Which is why the city has seen numerous protests, especially as of late, as China puts pressure and attempts to install actors into HK’s political system as well as force through laws beneficial for themselves. Of note, the extradition law that sparked the recent landmark protests. It would have given China free reign to extradite ‘criminals’ for whatever reason they saw fit. And when people have already been abducted from Hong Kong because of their political views aligning against mainland China for years now…? Yeah, people were not happy to see that become a very real publicly enforced possibility.

But it shows how just a bit of autonomy can create such a large division in attitudes, even when they are part of the same ‘country’ as it were.

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Grave Knight

To be fair, Hong Kong has only been Chinese for 22 years, for 155 years before that it was part of the British Empire. So culturally Hong Kong has more in common with England than it does with China. So isn’t just “Hong Kong has a little bit more freedom” it’s also that Hong Kong is use to those freedoms.

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rafael12104

Yup. Well said and quite right.

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Frank White

Yes, no doubt brainwashed people might learn to accept their reality as perfectly normal. Seems to be happening an awful lot in our own society. ;)

Also, of course, children can be made to believe almost anything, which is why most people believe in one religion or another. Many of them would still continue to believe in Santa Clause into adulthood if we didn’t tell them at some point we were just kidding. So yeah, future Chinese generations will wonder what all the fuss was about when it comes to things like a social credit rating.

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rafael12104

Cursedseishi covers it very well below. But what I mean by not being vastly different is that they live, they love, and they work very hard.

Cultural differences can be outstanding and their acceptance of government mandates we would find outrageous is hard to understand.

And yet, they get up, go to work, hang out with family and friends. They love movies, cars, etc. etc.

My experience there showed me that when it comes down to it, we have a lot in common despite our different viewpoints.

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Robert Mann

Given the gender skew, and the difficulties in their culture with romance (money and power tend to overwhelm it as reasons for marriage there)… this actually makes some sense.

It’s a nutty condition brought about by their previous choices. Where China has indeed often gone of the control freak deep-end, and the re-titling of their leader to emperor is rather justifiably mocked given the whiny “You shall not refer to them as another nation” crap they have spewed for so long, this isn’t actually all that crazy in terms of trying to reduce the escalating crime rates with the gender disparities (something noted in multiple studies on the nation).

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Jack Pipsam

Lol, what is actually the deal with the Chinese Govenment?
It’s just so gross how they suppress, repress and try to control every aspect of their citizens lives.

Meanwhile I remember plenty of tweens here having a blast playing The Sims. Romance, dates, getting married, having kids in the game, having a job, building a house, fostering (or destroying) a family, just creating little stories and of course, watching them die by fire or drowning.

Of all the things in gaming to get antsy about (violence, online communication etc.), having characters marry is like, nothing. It’s as vanilla as you could get with playing dolls or writing stories. Playground fantasy to edgy fan-fiction galore.

As for romance, are they honestly acting as if young teens have no romantic drive? Really? It literally goes against biologic, that kind of suppression doesn’t end well, it’s a hive for creating problems later down the line or mental health issues.

What next? They’re going to outright ban dating for those under 16 in real life lol.

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Roger Melly

A friend of mines son works in China and has married and has a child there . He loves the country , the way of life and the people . He find the Chinese people welcoming , friendly and happy for the most part.

What you have to remember is China is not the west they have different values and ways of looking at things . They are still quite traditionally conservative in many of their social views . In many parts of the country young women are still chaperoned when they are courting .

What you also have to remember the disparity between the male and female population is such that many Chinese men will never find a wife or have a girlfriend . Chances are a lot of those young men playing mmo’s are not the types who will find the kind of job that will attract a wife and probably will never get to sate those urges .

I also have a friend that I used to play TSW with for several years whilst she was studying in Liverpool .She came from Brunei which is an absolute monarchy and like China has not democracy . She found the concept of democracy adversarial and chaotic . Its an alien concept to us not to have a say in how our country is run but there are a lot of people who live in undemocratic systems that are happy and see them as superior and stable .

What you see as controlling they may see as caring . China is a country I wouldn’t want to live in myself because I value freedom but then again I wouldn’t want to live in the USA either because it seems freedom is under threat there too these days .

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Jack Pipsam

Which is why I specifically said the “Chinese Government” not the Chinese People :P
Australia has a massive Chinese population in both international students studying here and those who have been here for generations. I have absolutely no problem with anyone from China, as you say, they’re lovely people.
But their Government is screwed beyond belief and it’s getting worse.
The same way I look at the American Government with nothing but a different kind of alarm (and ours isn’t much better).

There is little caring about the way they treat those who speak against them, nothing caring about denying rights and suppressing their thoughts/feelings. It’s all about control. From their prison camps to the way they try to pretend Tiananmen Square wasn’t a big deal, it’s just draconian in every sense of the phrase.
For the sake of the many wonderful people of China, I hope it improves, but it’ll get worse before it gets better.
What the Chinese people have to suffer through really does make our problems look almost trivial on paper, just we’re allowed to be loud about them. We can kick up a fuss without being silently removed.
And none of this has even gone into their gross-af digital social credit system.

I understand entirely the fear of the people within Hong Kong.

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Baemir

Freedom in the US is threatened by who?

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Arthen Wolfsbane

I would think that is self explanatory but I won’t get into it here in a gaming forum .

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Schlag Sweetleaf

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rafael12104

I give this one five out of five Maos!

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Kayweg

They’re gonna run her over, she is armed, and probably wields magic !

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Arthen Wolfsbane

Fair enough , its their country and they can do what they like . These rules don’t seem that draconian to me given some of them appear to only be aimed at games children and minors play .

I can recall years ago in WoW seeing a wedding in Stormwind for the first time . I remember asking my mate who knew those involved and heard that the girl was 14 and she had got very anxious about the ceremony because some of the male members of the guild started teasing her about the wedding night . It all struck me as bit odd an inappropriate at the time so perhaps a ban on such weddings in games under 16’s play is such a bad thing .

“wear clothes that are inappropriate for the environment that they are in.” This seems the oddest part of the whole thing does it mean if the character goes to somewhere like the Misty Mountains in Lotro they have to dress up in cold weather clothing ?

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cursedseishi

This explains something I’ve seen missed elsewhere…

Hearthstone is getting a re-working on a looooooot of things. Among them is a further removal of violence from the cards, what appears to be the Succubus card being removed entirely, as well as art getting changed further on a lot of the other older cards for the new ‘Saviors of Uldum’ expansion.

As a whole? It’s all vague, and that is intentionally done so to the shock and surprise of what I hope is nobody. Selective enforcement is key here, and while Tencent is involved? I wouldn’t argue this means they are safe from it… It could just as easily be a show of force, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens with League of Legends. As large as that game has gotten, both in terms of character size as well as costumes? I’m darn sure a lot violates this so there will likely be news to come out of that. I can’t speak as much for PWE though. Star Trek isn’t exactly… sexy, in both the outfits you’ll see or really what they show in game. Romance is something we’ll likely see targeted though…
Same with Neverwinter. Can’t say I recall much in the way of ‘chainmail bikinis’, but again that romance angle is there as I’m sure there was at least a few quests here and there that might fall afoul of this.

It’s all too bloody vague to speak much of it though. If there’s a beach, swimsuits wouldn’t be… out of character for the environment. But that runs afoul of the 3/4 rule. And if characters are flirty? That could strike out on the romance/sexual behavior angle too.

I don’t like it, plain and simple. Then again, there’s much about how China handles things that I really don’t approve of or like–and that isn’t limited to gaming.