Censors in China are reportedly seeking to ban gay characters, gay relationships, and “effeminate males” from any video games sold in the country.
A leaked document from Chinese regulators, obtained by the South China Morning Post, reminds gaming studios in China that they must portray “a correct set of values” in games distributed in the country.
The National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) warned of stricter requirements for future titles, criticizing “blurred moral boundaries” in modern games and cautioning against depicting gay romances or “effeminate males.”
Game developers must also ensure that characters in games adhere to traditional gender roles and types of dress, regulators warned.
“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 states.
Regulators have reportedly slowed their approval of new games in China, after authorities met with major Chinese gaming studios including Tencent and NetEase.
SCMP reports that gaming studios were ordered not to show the “wrong set of values” in games, including “gay love.”
Games will also receive higher scrutiny if they “distort facts or deliberately provoke controversy.”
The crackdown on gay depictions in games comes after Chinese censors issued new rules aimed at preventing “abnormal esthetics” in media, including limiting depictions of “sissy idols” and “effeminate men” on TV.
Homosexuality isn’t illegal in China, but neither is it widely accepted. China’s censors regularly edit or ban LGBTQ content, including cutting depictions of Freddie Mercury’s gay relationships in 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
Gay drama Call Me By Your Name was also suddenly pulled from the Beijing International Film Festival, with no reason given — although blame was placed on the CCP’s moves to gain tighter control over media and entertainment.
Earlier this year, LGBTQ people in China criticized authorities after dozens of LGBTQ accounts were removed from social media platform WeChat.
A number of student-ran accounts tied to LGBTQ groups on university campuses were blocked and then deleted from the platform without warning, with attempts to visit them producing a message that they had “violated” China’s internet regulations.
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