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The Chinese government are reportedly proposing a ban from players interacting with others from overseas in online video games, and more.
The news comes from Liberty Times Net (via Taiwan News). They claim that after Animal Crossing: New Horizons had reportedly been banned in China (possibly due to Free Hong Kong Protest members using the game to share their message), that (in Taiwan News’ words) “Local metropolises are scrambling to draft laws to expand the scope of online censorship in video games.”
This would include expanding the “Great Firewall” (China’s heavily censored filters for Internet content) to video games, meaning players from China would not be able to interact with those in the rest of the world. Liberty Times Net also state that the proposed bans include existing games within the country.
The ban even proposes banning depictions of zombies and plagues due to the recent coronavirus pandemic, map editing, customizing clothes (though Taiwan News translates this as roleplaying- we are using Google Translate), and forming organizations.
It should be noted that the ban on depicting zombies has seemingly been in effect, with depictions of dead bodies and blood (including zombies and skeletons) being removed from games sold in the region- due to “insulting ancestors” and “promoting superstition”. However, the ban has not seemed to be consistent.
In addition, the bans propose an online gaming curfew between 10PM and 8AM for gamers under 18. This would seem to be one of the older laws already coming into effect from November 2019. This also includes restrictions on what 16 to 18 year-olds can spend in online games, up to 400 yuan (est. $56 USD) per month, with younger players restricted to 200 yuan (est. $28.29 USD) per month.
In other news, the Taiwanese Premier Su Tseng-chang has seemingly decried the ban of Animal Crossing: New Horizons in China, by stating no such ban would come to Taiwan.
“Democracy and freedom of speech are Taiwan’s most important values,” Tseng-chang stated. “Everyone can use any medium to say what they want to say, please everyone cherish this (“lifestyle”), go ahead and play at your heart’s content. […] Please cherish our Taiwan, a place where you can play video games freely.”