China Censorship Agency Bans 50 Video Games

January 27, 2005

Xinhua reports that the General Administration of Press and Publication and the National Anti-Pornography Counter-Illegal Publishing Task Force have banned the sale of 50 "illegal electronic games." To quote the article:

According to an explanation of the General Administration of Press and Publication, in order to purify the video game publishing market, protect the legal interests of consumers, especially minors, and protect intellectual property, departments of the GAPP and the Task Force recently conducted a comprehensive investigation of the electronic games and software markets, and discovered over 50 illegal electronic game publications.

The article stated that of the 50, 24 were banned because they had been "distributed without approval." This ban follows the Chinese Ministry of Culture's banning last December of a video game entitled "Soccer Manager 2005" for "severely violating China's laws and regulations." On January 24 the Task Force announced that Chinese authorities seized over 200,000,000 "illegal publications" in 2004. China's government prohibits the distribution or publishing of any publication, including electronic publications, except by government-authorized and sponsored entities. It appears that Chinese authorities intend to intensify their campaign against Chinese citizens attempting to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of the press without first acquiring government authorization:

  • The version of the article on game banning carried on Xinhua's English Language Web site cited Liu Binjie, deputy director of the GAPP, as saying that the Chinese government in 2005 will focus on combating illegal publications. Liu has previously been quoted as saying "currently China is one of the world's countries richest in freedom of speech and freedom of publication."
  • On January 22 the People's Daily reported that Liu Yunshan, a member of the Political Bureau and Secretariat and director of the Communist Party's Central Propaganda Department, said Chinese authorities "should give top priority to cracking down on illegal publications, step up our efforts at this work, and check the spread of illegal publications jeopardizing social stability."