A Chinese man has been arrested for allegedly planning to kill Genshin Impact developer miHoYo’s founders, “upset by the recent changes” in Honkai Impact 3rd; most likely the bunny girl costumes that were removed.
As previously reported, miHoYo removed the bunny girl costumes and event from Honkai Impact 3rd, along with a dancing music video. They later stated the designs and dance moves were “out of character and inappropriate.” It should be noted the characters have dressed in swimsuits, bikinis, and similarly revealing clothing before.
Soon after, what could have been a terrible incident at miHoYo’s HQ was rumored on social media and message boards; which has now been confirmed. Chinese news outlet Baidu reports (via Olhar Digital), that police in Shanghai, China arrested a man on April 24th who had allegedly planned to murder the studio’s founders (CEO and Director Liu Wei, and President and Chairman Cai Haoyu).
The man in question was armed with a knife, and had managed to enter miHoYo’s building. The man was reportedly “upset by the recent changes” in Honkai Impact 3rd, and had planned to travel from Foshan (over 700 miles away from Shanghai) to commit suicide after killing both the executives.
Olhar Digital further reports that Chinese fans on social media had complained at the time of the costume and dance unveiling as being “disrespectful and vulgar.” Some on social media and in the comments of others reporting on the original story theorized that the content was removed on behalf of pressure from Chinese users, and even authorities.
The Chinese government had previously banned pornography, as part of their “Anti-Spiritual Pollution Campaign” of 1983. Those distributing pornographic material are subject to life in prison, and a cat and mouse game between the government and pornographic websites has developed. Despite the life in prison sentence, some have been given for shorter sentences.
Ms. Li, who wrote homoerotic stories under the name Tianyi, was sentenced to 10 years in prision on 2017. The shutdown of Chinese porn website “Erotica Juneday” in October 2016 saw highest paying members paying a fine of around $490 USD.
On the other hand, its founder Chen Hui was sentenced to life in prison. Across 2009 and 2010 (amid a crackdown on pornographic websites), over 10,000 subjects were arrested, and 69,000 websites were shut down [1, 2].
Likewise, the Ministry of Culture has investigated “illegal business activities” in online games before. This included 20 cases on January 23rd of pornography, gambling, and “violating social ethics” across Evangelion: Breaking Dawn, Street Electrical and Mechanical Play City, Fate Crown Designation, and Azur Lane. This led to 18 ship girls being removed from the Chinese servers of Azur Lane.
Commenters and social media users also proposed the censorship in both Azur Lane and Hokai Impact 3rd were born from social credit reports. In short, social credit in China grants perks for “good citizens” (access to better schools for your children, or not needing to pay a deposit at a hotel), and restrictions on “bad citizens” (publicly named and shamed, or banned from using public transport).
As such, reporting a game that violates what the government is cracking down on would likely earn them an increased credit score. At this time, it is unclear whether the man’s motives where the addition or removal of the content; possible mental health issues not withstanding.