Yikes, turns out this censors any reference to Taiwan or Hong Kong

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EvilMonkeySlayer

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Efesell

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I mean of course it does. It's a Chinese company. They abide by shitty laws about this or else they don't get to be anything.

For anyone that this is a hard line for I respect it but I am curious as to what y'all thought the score was exactly.

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doctordonkey

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This is not unique to this game. The Chinese government has every Chinese company by the balls, you mention either of those things and your company is fucked. This doesn't just apply to software companies.

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Aristotled

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#4  Edited By Aristotled

If you base your decision to play a thing because a company resides in a country with a crappy government that is not your own, that's just rather...well it certainly SEEMS racist or Xenophobic

It's not like Mihoyo is gonna just break the law in China, bad things happen

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plan6

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Yeah, this is 100% the time when boycotting a game won't do anything. They either do this or the game does not exist, likely along with their jobs. If folks don't want to partake in a game that has this political censorship, that is fine. But don't do it as some sort of protest hoping to change the company, because you are literally powerless on that front.

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Nuttism

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@aristotled: Sure, but I don't think people are deciding not to buy the game because it's from China, they are doing so because the game censors mention of Taiwan and Hong Kong. Is it unfair when China has put forth law mandating the censorship? Perhaps, but I'm pretty sure people would feel the same was it published in a different country but still had those rules. It's a similar situation as the one in Israel really, and I think it's important to keep the distinction clear between xenophobia and being against a country's repressive government which is seriously violating the human rights of minorities.

For the record, I do think there is quite a lot of xenophobia when it comes to China. I really have a hard time explaining some people's opposition to the Epic game store and TikTok otherwise, but there is a definite difference for me if there's content within the game people object to rather than a general distaste for products from a certain country.

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Nodima

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@nuttism: This is all well and good on its face, but at some point you have to do some personal accounting and figure out if you're drawing the line on this one product within this one hobby you engage with or are living a completely China-free life. Without a statement from the developers, which we'll never ever get, it's impossible to know if they agree with this restriction, only that they were required to adhere to it in order to release their product. Judging by the quite light- and open-hearted tone of the game itself, I'd wager they'd have no problem not censoring these words if they weren't facing multiple years in jail for overlooking it.

It's important that this is acknowledged, obviously, but boycotting a relatively minor concern in China's GDP is not going to get their attention, broader retreat from entanglements in their economy that act as tacit, informal approval of their government's policies is the only way any of this changes and that's beyond any one consumer's ability to affect, that's on governments and global regulators.

Personally, as the person that's been loudest about how interesting this game is to me as someone who's never encountered a product like this before, I'd be boycotting the game because of its extremely predatory endgame economy, but between it's MMO-like design and the conventions of its genre players seem more than happy to shrug their shoulders and tell newcomers "it is what it is", I don't see anyone being convinced that this isn't the best the genre has to offer despite so many clear ways it could be better.

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Nuttism

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@nodima: I'm less viewing this as "boycotting" the game, which is obviously pointless as there's a law against it, but more as a personal choice if the censorship stuff makes you uncomfortable. It's similar to how I would never want to get a soda stream as the company got handed stolen Palestinian land from Israel's government.

My wider point more generally is not to conflate xenophobia with disliking the product or how it's made. I abhor xenophobia no matter who it's directed at, yet buying a game censoring the names of two areas a repressive government is trying to annex, would make me personally very uncomfortable, regardless of where the development team is from, and even if I know it's unfair on them (like I admitted in my first comment).

Personally, I don't really care about this game. The censorship is ultimately inconsequential. I'm more talking about the wider point that it plays right into the hands of numerous repressive governments (like Israel and Turkey) to conflate xenophobia with reasoned opposition against leaders who commit human rights abuses.

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Rebel_Scum

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I don't understand where the censorship occurs in this game. Didn't notice anything about my location in the menu's or nothing.

Unless you're naming your character Taiwan, which is dumb anyways where else would this be an issue?

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Zeik

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#10  Edited By Zeik

Considering they apparently also censored Kiryu Coco's name (the Vtuber) because she merely mentioned the existence of Taiwan in a completely non-political context I can't say I'm surprised. I half expect to start hearing they are banning streamers who happen to mention Taiwan before long.

I don't know how much of it is by their own choice vs pressure by the government, but it definitely feels gross and off-putting enough that I don't really blame anyone for being turned off by it.

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Nodima

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yyninja

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@rebel_scum said:

I don't understand where the censorship occurs in this game. Didn't notice anything about my location in the menu's or nothing.

Unless you're naming your character Taiwan, which is dumb anyways where else would this be an issue?

On the face of it it doesn't affect most people. But you need to think of it another way. It's to deter people from organizing protests in games, especially Genshin Impact being F2P. Another example is to look at Animal Crossing which got banned in China because Hong Kong players were posting anti-government messages.

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asylumrunner

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@zeik said:

I don't know how much of it is by their own choice vs pressure by the government, but it definitely feels gross and off-putting enough that I don't really blame anyone for being turned off by it.

Pfft, what? They're a Chinese company, based in Shanghai. It is literally illegal for them to not do it, or else they risk drawing the ire of the authoritarian regime that surrounds them, their families, and their business. What are they supposed to do, risk their game, their business, and themselves for the sake of a chat filter in a video game?

I'm not by any means saying that censorship is okay, but unless you have evidence of miHoYo going above and beyond what they are forced to do to avoid breaking Chinese law and, again, endangering their livelihoods, the only thing you can peg this dev for is "they are Chinese, and don't want to be arrested".

If someone's gut instinct is to ascribe negative intent to the development studio based on nothing, I'd check to make sure their opinions towards the Chinese government aren't bleeding into their opinion of every single Chinese person and thing (a benefit of the doubt most people give to, say, Americans). Similarly, I can't tell anyone where to draw their personal line as far as interacting economically with China, but I'd encourage people to make sure that where they draw that line is logically founded and not just a blanket policy of sinophobia (I'm not accusing anyone here of that, but there are definitely people whose "China bad" takes careen into blatant xenophobia)

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Zeik

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#14  Edited By Zeik

@asylumrunner: When they start censoring the names of people who merely mention Taiwan in completely unrelated context to the game that's when I start to question their motives. Again, I don't actually know how much of it is by their choice or outside pressure (I admit censoring "Taiwan" itself is probably unavoidable), so I'm not willing to outright condemn them, but it's sketch enough to make me uncomfortable. Especially when I don't know how far they are willing or required to go to shut down any mention of Taiwan.

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Onemanarmyy

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#15  Edited By Onemanarmyy

Specifically, the Ministry of Culture forbids:

  • Gambling-related content or game features
  • Anything that violates China’s constitution
  • Anything that threatens China’s national unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity.
  • Anything that harms the nation’s reputation, security, or interests.
  • Anything that instigates racial/ethnic hatred, or harms ethnic traditions and cultures.
  • Anything that violates China’s policy on religion by promoting cults or superstitions.
  • Anything that promotes or incites obscenity, drug use, violence, or gambling.
  • Anything that harms public ethics or China’s culture and traditions.
  • Anything that insults, slanders, or violates the rights of others.
  • Other content that violates the law

Since the rules are broad and open to interpretation, game publishers will often choose to err on the side of caution and cut or edit anything that might be perceived as objectionable before the Ministry of Culture’s review process. That gives the game a better chance of getting approved, which means it can be released in China.

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plan6

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It is important to remember that there are a lot of people just trying to live their lives in China. That isn’t an excuse for the censorship, but folks should temper their response with that in mind.

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Quantris

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#17 Quantris  Online

I have like maybe fifth-hand knowledge about this stuff but it's apparently a crazy-hard line to walk. Sorta like Western cancel culture dialed up to 11---you're in for some 1984-style shit if someone accuses you of being anti-CCP (it's not going to end with just your game being pulled...) *and* there are folks out there who are basically making it their mission to get irrationally butthurt & put people on blast online for anything even resembling a transgression. The case of Kiryu Coco / Haachama brought up earlier is a canonical example of that kind of "mob action" IMHO.

I'm not sure about the game itself (looks a little boring) but as long as it's not actual propaganda then I don't think there's much of a "yikes" here.

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Humanity

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@quantris: Not only that but I don't actually think there is much of a "line" to walk here. You either comply with the regime or face very strong repercussions. Even though China has modernized it's government and as a result their country has soared economically, people (not you personally) often forget that it is not a free country where the individual has the same liberties that a lot of the modern western world takes for granted.

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Shindig

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More like Taiwas. More like Hong Gone.

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superfriend

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Man, some of the responses in this thread.

Xenophobia? Temper responses?

This is really worrying. In a few years time the Chinese government will basically get away with anything they want, because people will be labeled xenophobes for speaking up.

I guess it's not worth it over some anime-Zelda-clone, but come on.

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navster15

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@superfriend: I think everyone here is in agreement that the censorship sucks, the Chinese Communist Party sucks, and the Chinese people deserve better. And if people think this is a bridge too far from them, then absolutely do no play Genshin Impact (or any Chinese made game for that matter). Where it gets xenophobic is when folks ascribe bad intent to the developers who are simply complying with non-negotiable laws in order to publish their game. Because it is absolutely bad faith to criticize the developer specifically over making the choice to censor when the only other possible decision would result in their game being pulled, their livelihoods threatened, and possibly face the wrath of a brutal totalitarian state.

tl;dr: Saying the situation sucks, perfectly fine! Saying the devs suck, I'm starting to question your motives.

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Icemael

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If China had policies against black people and a Chinese company released a game that, in accordance with their government's regulations, censored terms like "black lives matter," "police brutality," "George Floyd" etc., I imagine the responses in this thread would look very different from the current "It it what it is," "The developers are just trying to live their lives," "It's xenophobic to not want to play this game." Really goes to show to what extent people's supposed "moral judgments" are based less on actual ethical considerations and more on the fact that Hong Kong and Taiwan are faraway places so who gives a shit.

Note also that the article linked in the first post clearly states that the Chinese regulations allow developers to release a "global version" without censorship, and that this has previously been done by numerous other Chinese companies. In other words, the developers chose to keep the censorship in for all players worldwide.

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Humanity

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@icemael: That very same article ends with the author conceding that the developer has no choice in the situation because of the government mandated laws concerning censorship and that there are better ways of protesting than avoiding the game. Daniel Ahmad in the linked tweets who brings up the possibility of a Global version also remarks that "..it's not always that simple for Chinese devs specifically." Everyone in question is in agreement that the censorship is bad but maybe this isn't the best approach to fight it - in this specific situation.

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Rebel_Scum

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@yyninja: Didn't know you can post messages in this game.

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Turambar

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#25  Edited By Turambar

@icemael: Would people use stronger language to condemn the actions? Sure. Will it change their own personal purchasing behavior? I doubt it.

Talk is easy and cheap, especially on an internet message board.

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development

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If every game just used Dark Souls' message system for communication this wouldn't be a problem.

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LyndBako

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the Chinese people deserve better.

Unless you're Chinese yourself, you probably shouldn't make sweeping statements like this. On average, Chinese citizens are very happy with their quality of life

It's a very western belief to think that YOUR way of life is the ONLY way of life and that everyone else should conform to your exact same values

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BladeOfCreation

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This doesn't seem like news. Of course a Chinese company is going to do this, and of course players have no recourse. Western companies do the same the thing in order to release games in China. They even do similar things to release games in particular Western markets.

I'm not sure I can blame a company bound by shitty national laws for this sort of thing. I do find it easier to blame individuals for their shitty views; I won't be reading any of Liu Cixin's work, for example.

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Mathematics

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@lyndbako: Are the Uyghurs happy with their quality of life? Or is that question too western?

Never forget China is not our friend.

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navster15

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@lyndbako: Alright, the Uyghurs deserve better. Tibetans deserve better. Hong Kongers deserve better. Taiwan deserves better. Political opponents deserve better. LGBTQ Chinese people deserve better. Shall I go on?

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Zeik

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#31  Edited By Zeik

@lyndbako: There really shouldn't be any debate here that the Chinese government sucks. That's not necessarily the same thing as conforming to western values or condemning the people that live there, but the amount of authority and control the government wields over their citizens and their ability to have their own thoughts is beyond what any country should find acceptable.

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BladeOfCreation

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@lyndbako: Yeah, a lot of people, especially in the wake (or ongoing throes) of COVID, have been particularly shitty about China. So there is definitely a lot of disingenuous anti-Chinese sentiment out there. That doesn't mean that people can't have legitimate issues with actions and policies of the Chinese government. Voicing those issues does not mean that people don't ALSO have issues with the actions and policies of their own governments.

I mean, feel free to search my post history, or the histories of a number of the other posters in this thread who are talking about these issues. You'll find that most, if not all of us, do not exclusively criticize the Chinese government. We also engage in these discussions, both within and without the context of video games, about other governments or powerful entities.

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north6

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#33  Edited By north6

@icemael said:

If China had policies against black people

Uhhhhoook. Literal policies against black people.

Anyway, I came here for sonic capitalism memes, and I have to leave disappointed, bummer!

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north6

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#34  Edited By north6

@bladeofcreation: Interesting - Didn't realize Liu Cixin was something of a stooge. You would probably think the opposite if you had read his first part of the trilogy, it's fantastic, and takes a very dim view of the cultural revolution.

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BladeOfCreation

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@north6: Sounds like he's 100% bought into the Chinese government's propaganda about the Uighurs. I had been planning on reading his books, too.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/06/24/liu-cixins-war-of-the-worlds

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ahifi

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#36  Edited By ahifi

No thanks.

I'd consider playing an international version that does not censor the name of actual territories - and the name of a streamer who merely mentioned Taiwan and showed the flag in a purely stat-driven manner - but not this version. I cannot be complicit in that.

If this is one of the biggest Chinese games in history to date, and they make a load of money off of it, they've got the dough to present an international option. They probably had the money to do that in the first instance. So, yeah, let's not beat around the bush here: this was likely a choice.

Someone there would have (or should have) known this could be an issue early in development. Whether it was a choice pushed on them by their backers, I don't know, but we know other Chinese games have had international versions; we know international games have had Chinese versions. This isn't anything new. And that's the bottom line right there.

I didn't buy Doom Eternal because of the immigration/trans/melting pot shit they pulled with that trailer, and I thought the first game was great, so I don't have any issue with pretending a game (that I know I would really love playing) doesn't exist. Although now that I'm getting that as part of Game Pass, and I don't need to directly give them money for it, I may try it as I didn't hear anyone critique the story content post-release.

Also, I did hear a rumour that Doom Slayer looks at the camera in the final act, cocks their gun, and says: "Trans rights" as the ultimate swerve, revealing a trans flag tattoo under their armour, before casting the final demon back to hell with the power of Audre Lorde's words from 'Zami', firing a modified BFG-T into the dimensional rift to close it up (Butler's Fucking Gender Trouble), and saving us all from bigoted assholes who cannot fathom letting people live their inner lives in peace, and their outer lives in relative peace. I look forward to that moment very ahwhoamikiddin'

Anyhoo, somehow I'll manage to survive without this Breath of the Wild clone (harsh, I know, but come on...), I guess, by perhaps actually getting around to finishing Breath of the Wild. They even added that Master difficulty at some point, right? You could always go back there if this makes you feel uncomfortable but you have the desire for a similar game. And BotW2 could well be out in 2021. There are loads of games out there - loads! No need to feel pressured by peers or coverage to play something that makes you feel uncomfortable. They made their choice; you make yours.

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ToughShed

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#37  Edited By ToughShed

@aristotled said:

If you base your decision to play a thing because a company resides in a country with a crappy government that is not your own, that's just rather...well it certainly SEEMS racist or Xenophobic

Yeah basically. Call of Duty games where we say Russia straight up did warcrimes America did are not getting this treatment from outraged gamers.

All that said I support however anyone handles this. Just the moral tone coming from Americans is too much and also bury all the cold war xenophobia please.

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dasakamov

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#38  Edited By dasakamov
@lyndbako said:
Chinese citizens are very happy with their quality of life

So are many North Koreans. But just because some people benefit from a system that oppresses those not like them doesn't mean people should stay silent about abuses against civil liberties.

Like, we get that the Chinese game devs hands are tied, and they face very real, very frightening consequences for breaking laws against "sedition". And yes, the situation is very different than Blizzard's shit-show, where they kowtowed to Chinese censorship laws out of pure greed, not out of duress. But saying "oh well, sucks to be them, but no one should do or say anything negative" is how the squelching of free expression persists.

When you boycott a product, you're not doing it simply to hurt a profit margin, you're doing it to send a message - a message that people DO notice rights abuses, and oppose them. And even though you won't cause the PRC to change course overnight, you may cause other people on the mainland to say, "Well, WHY are people boycotting our product?"

As personal anecdote, I know three people (two from mainland China, one from Iran) in the video games industry who permanently immigated to our country because they realised later in their lives that they do, in fact, want the freedom to be able to tell stories and create characters as they wish.

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curiosus

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All the hand-wringing in this thread is both disgusting and ridicolous. The developers are complicit, that may be against their own conscience or it may not be, it doesn't matter they are actively supporting the CCP in censoring topics concerning the oppressed. I don't give a damn if thats what they've got to do to make a living, this is how evil functions in the real world, ordinary people are made to take part and it doesn't stop while you sit around making excuses for them, or worse hand them your money and get involved too.

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Efesell

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I expect everyone to keep this same energy when it comes to something you value more than a Gacha game.

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plan6

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@efesell said:

I expect everyone to keep this same energy when it comes to something you value more than a Gacha game.

Just think if we put this much energy into being upset about problems in our own respective countries.

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north6

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@efesell said:

I expect everyone to keep this same energy when it comes to something you value more than a Gacha game.

Possibility of a pretty lady with a big sword < ?????

Name 10 things that are more valuable.

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plan6

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Possibility of a pretty lady with a huge sword made up of smaller swords.

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Mortimer

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Link here for an example.

Kind of to be expected, but still... yikes. Guess I won't be touching this.

You post a link to an article explaining why this is something that all Chinese developers are forced to comply with by their government, and yet you somehow still think "welp, better boycott this dev's game"...?

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dasakamov

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@plan6 said:

Possibility of a pretty lady with a huge sword made up of smaller swords.

How about a huge sword with a pretty lady made of smaller ladies?

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navster15

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#48  Edited By navster15

I see some folks saying that they could have shipped an international version without censorship, but I fail to see how that improves the situation. Like, not being able to type “Taiwan” or “Hong Kong” in Genshin does not affect me the slightest, because I have literally every other platform available to me to type those words and shit on the Chinese government. The only people that it does affect are folks in China who are stuck with the censored version as a matter of law. So even if the devs release an uncensored version for international markets, it doesn’t materially change the fact that the game in some small way advances the CCP’s agenda. So ultimately, I understand people making a decision to play Genshin based on the censorship, but I don’t understand people who are ok with a fig leaf of free speech but won’t play when that fig is removed.

For the record, I am continuing to play Genshin and enjoying the hell out of it. I understand that this is a compromised decision and am willing to live with it. But then, I’ve put countless hours into Call of Duty, which is certainly propaganda for the US imperial war machine so I guess I’m already a shitty gamer anyway.

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ToughShed

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#49  Edited By ToughShed

@curiosus said:

All the hand-wringing in this thread is both disgusting and ridicolous. The developers are complicit, that may be against their own conscience or it may not be, it doesn't matter they are actively supporting the CCP in censoring topics concerning the oppressed.

this is such a ridiculous take. It's government authoritarianism. You must think all the oppressed worldwide were complicit, all throughout history, in their subjugation, murder etc. great take and definitely not completely offensive to anyone who lived under oppression and still does.

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ToughShed

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When you boycott a product, you're not doing it simply to hurt a profit margin, you're doing it to send a message - a message that people DO notice rights abuses, and oppose them. And even though you won't cause the PRC to change course overnight, you may cause other people on the mainland to say, "Well, WHY are people boycotting our product?"

Thinking a "boycott" of a mobile game would lead to this conclusion by the developers and publisher in China is wild but do you.

The American obsessed with self imposed boycotts on regular consumers over acting actual people in power and the government to do something is amazing to watch. They think their purchasing power can stop giant monopolies like Amazon who already have corned the market. Just don't ask the government to actually step in and do their job, its on us all as consumers lol.

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