A popular new game, Genshin Impact, is censoring words including Taiwan, Hong Kong, Falun Gong and Putin in the in-game chat function, according to players.
The role-playing quest game from Chinese developer miHoYo was released last week, in what has been called the biggest global launch of a Chinese game ever.
However, users around the world have taken to social media to complain about an apparent auto-censorship function built into the in-game chat function.
Words including “Taiwan,” “Hong Kong,” “Falun Gong” and the names of Adolf Hitler, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, appear as asterixes when sent, according to players and gaming sites.
Chinese censorship or sensitivity to political terms and names is rife in gaming, with developers required to comply with Chinese regulations.
In April the popular Nintendo Switch game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, was removed from sale on major Chinese Web sites after it was used by Hong Kong activists to spread pro-democracy messages.
In July a mobile music game was removed from sale in China for “rectification and internal evaluation” after it was revealed the game’s music director wrote a song with a pro-Hong Kong message and hid it in Morse code.
The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) sensitivity over Taiwan and Hong Kong has increased markedly this year.
The CCP is increasingly sensitive to foreign governments and politicians building relations with Taiwan’s government or anything that affirms Taiwanese sovereignty.
Ahead of Taiwan’s Double Ten National Day tomorrow, Indian media reported the Chinese embassy’s press department had e-mailed Indian reporters asking them to “not violate the ‘one China’ principle,” which includes Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is a territory of the People’s Republic of China.
“In particular, Taiwan shall not be referred to as a ‘country/nation,’ or ‘Republic of China’ or the leader of China’s Taiwan region as ‘president,’ so as not to send the wrong signals to the general public,” the embassy e-mail said.
The embassy statement also inaccurately said the “one China” principle was the “universal consensus of the international community.”
According to the Hindustan Times, the embassy letter followed the publication in two New Delhi newspapers of full-page advertisements paid for by the Taiwanese government on Wednesday that included a photograph of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the text “Taiwan and India are natural partners.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday scoffed at the embassy’s advice.
“India is the largest democracy on Earth with a vibrant press & freedom-loving people. But it looks like communist #China is hoping to march into the subcontinent by imposing censorship. #Taiwan’s Indian friends will have one reply: GET LOST!” Wu said in a tweet.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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