China to ban video games with ‘effeminate males’ and gay relationships in latest crackdown on freedoms
- 15:01, 2 Oct 2021
- Updated: 15:14, 2 Oct 2021
CHINA will ban video games that include "effeminate males" and gay relationships in the latest crackdown on freedoms, it has been reported.
A leaked memo revealed Beijing no longer views games as "entertainment" but instead as a form of art that are responsible for promoting "correct values" and an "accurate understanding" of history and culture.
The new rules will forbid video games from involving the conquest of "barbarians" or altering the history of the Nazis and imperial Japan, the South China Morning Post reports.
China's communist chiefs can censor anything which violates the country's core socialist values, and have already slapped strict rules on content ranging from TV shows to movies and music.
The latest crackdown comes after the nation limited children to three hours a week of online gaming back in August in an attempt to stifle addictions.
The leaked guidelines have now set out a clear set of instructions for game developers in China and those who want to trade in the Chinese market.
Characters must have a "clear gender" and storylines are prohibited from having "blurred moral boundaries".
"If regulators can’t tell the character’s gender immediately, the setting of the characters could be considered problematic and red flags will be raised," the memo read.
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Video games which encourage players to eliminate "barbarians" could be chastised for spreading "colonialism", while featuring Japanese warlords could be interpreted as glorifying "militarism" and "jingoism".
"Games can’t distort facts or deliberately provoke controversy, and historical figures with established narratives must not be refashioned," it added.
Other games which give players the choice between being good and evil will also be forbidden as authorities "don't think games should give players this choice."
"This must be altered," the memo continued.
The new gaming guidelines were shared in the wake of Chinese censors annoucning that no new domestically produced games had been approved since July.
No new imported games have been given the green light since June.
The country's biggest gaming developers were warned of stricter regulations on content in a meeting on September 8.
They were told those with the "wrong value orientation", pornography and violence would be ousted.
Technology developers were briefed to "firmly boycott any ill culture such as money worshipping, effeminate males and boys’ love."
The gaming industry – worth a whopping £32billion last year in China – is a formidable opponent against Beijing and President Xi Xinping.
A huge Chinese retailer, JD.com, removed 87 console games from their site last month, including the likes of Activision Blizzard Inc’s Call of Duty and Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
They said they removed the titles as the games were unlicensed and unregistered.
Over 30,000 gamers accounts have been removed and 96,000 silenced over "rule violations", the Guangzhou video game industry announced in its latest monthly report.
Rule breaches include mproper political remarks, superstition, rumour, pornography, vulgar content, cyberbullying, privacy breach and discriminatory comments.
Guangzhou said it had tackled issues including historic nihilism, defaming heroic martyrs, terrorism, extremism, ethnic hatred, cult and fraud.
A self-regulation pack was published by 213 video gaming companies last month, promising to "build up a safety line and boycott any ill content."
"We firmly ban illegal content such as politically harmful content, historic nihilism, pornography and bloody terror," the pact read.
TV shows promoting "effeminate" behaviour and actors with "incorrect politics" were also banned in September.
The National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) said programmes showing "effeminate" behaviour and "warped" content should be axed.
Shows which focus on scandals, ostentatious wealth and "vulgar" internet celebrities should also be stopped, the notice said.
"Unhealthy fan culture should be deterred and strict controls placed on programmes with voting segments, and any that encourage fans to spend money to vote should be forbidden," it continued.
Authorities and state media have repeatedly lashed out at male stars who wear heavy make-up and project a feminine image – saying Chinese boys should become more manly.