Beijing no longer sees gaming as “entertainment” but as a form of art that must serve the party by promoting “correct values”.
According to a leaked memo, China’s perspective on gaming and entertainment has taken a turn for the political. It seems that ever since the very same government announced they would prevent children from playing video games for more than three hours, restrictions on media consumption have only tightened, and become more specifically targeted towards a certain collective: the LGBTQ+ community.
As well as pledging to ban the visibility of openly ‘gay relationships’ and ‘unmanly characters,’ the Chinese government is also planning to ban and censor any video game that blatantly attempts to alter Nazi history, the trajectory of imperial Japan, or involves the conquest of ‘barbarians.’ It seems that there is a preoccupation with morality, which is perhaps viable and universally acknowledgeable. However, the memo reportedly states that this concern also links with the conventional option that allows a player to choose their gender, which is sometimes ‘blurred’ and ‘vague.’
‘If regulators can’t tell the character’s gender immediately, the setting of the characters could be considered problematic and red flags raised,’ the memo reads, according to the South China Morning Post.
The leaked memo marks the latest move by President Xi Jinping to crack down on the perceived decline of traditional masculinity since this is not the first instance wherein there has been a public outcry against a form of media that deviates from this social ‘norm.’
For instance, it was only last month that China announced that “sissy” effeminate men would be banned from being on TV. Adamant on following the guidelines of a newly introduced ‘national rejuvenation,’ the government reportedly encouraged broadcasters to ‘vigorously promote excellent Chinese traditional culture.’
President Xi Jinping seems to be the head of this operation, enforcing traditional “morality” by tightening government control of business and society in accordance with the country’s primarily socialist ideologies.
No games, which have been domestically produced since June and July, have been approved by the Chinese censors, and the future for the gaming industry is only looking bleaker.
On September 8, the censors held a meeting to tell all of China’s big gaming developers about the new measures. Pornography, violence and ‘wrong value orientation’ were all detailed by the censors, with the developers told to ‘firmly boycott any ill culture such as money worshipping, effeminate males and boys’ love.’