Submitted by Darren Smith, Guest Blogger
The Chinese Government banned the video game Battlefield 4, developed by Electronic Arts, claiming the video game casts China in a bad light and advocates political issues which make China appear to be a warlike society.
The game play plot takes place in the year 2020 where a military coup occurs in China resulting in a geo-political intrigue that could bring the US into a protracted war. The US sends troops to Hong Kong to fight against the coup and the PLA.
The Chinese Ministry of Culture went as far as to ban all things related to the game including software, patches, and news reports. It censored the topic of the game on China’s main social media website weibo.com. On a link derived, according to ZDNet, from an official Chinese news publication, there was much worry over the video games:
The source provided the following, originally in Chinese and obtained from automatic translation:
“The Global release of “Battlefield 4” a game highlighting a Chinese civil war and the U.S. coming to aid to the background, does not match reality and proffers many details to discredit China’s national image. In computer games, television and entertainment programs, are used for the carrier, to promote their own values and to demonize the image of his country’s approach as a new form of cultural aggression. We must not only fight with this behavior, but also actively carry out public diplomacy, highlighting the Chinese culture and build a good image of our cultural products to show the world a better positive image of our country.”
“In “Battlefield 4” for example, video game lovers will repeatedly receive the following message: China will be a volatile situation with the state of social instability; and the Liberation Army is a militant army. Meanwhile, in the course of the game players’ roles must also be portrayed as American soldiers in combat with the PLA.”
“It is worth noting that there are many games representing blatant disregard for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country, such as “Football Manager 2005”, where one can set up a team representing Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet as being an independent country providing teams participate in the competition; in the “People’s General” The game is set in the independence of Taiwan, mainland unified force, the United States gathered “United Nations” aid station storyline.”
(Note that in the software development world, references to what the PRC calls Special Administrative Regions such as Macao, Taiwan, and Hong Kong as being independent states can result in complete bans from import into China)
The article continued with “The use of computer games and hit TV carried national political communications to promote their values, to discredit the country’s image in other countries, and is a new form of cultural penetration and aggression.
In general, the government and the people of a country’s official foreign information media meets with natural skepticism and wariness. Social systems, especially, and even foreign media, have preconceived ideological biases between different countries. However, computer games, hit movies, and entertainment programs, as with a relatively new mass media including television, radio, and newspapers, the amount of information is huge, and with video games it spreads more quickly, the result of which is a natural, continuous process of shaping understanding and is difficult to detect, invisible and hidden.
And lastly turning the tables:
“Computer games utilizing a Western storyline distort the facts for the West’s own national image and vilify others. Some developing countries have taken measures to develop their own computer games to actively compete. To counter the American-designed computer game plots “to attack Iran,” Iran’s Islamic Students League game developed “Special Operations 85: Rescue the hostages.” For China, the game is not only a military buff’s hobby, it is a universal platform for the defense of knowledge to the public. However, for the majority of military games lovers, our military has The Liberation War, the Korean War and other very rich and valuable game development themes. China has too few such games. Army fans and game fans have called for China to build more military themed outstanding games, giving China strength, to show the world a positive image of China”
Many Chinese consumers are now bypassing the ban by use of peer-to-peer networks, tunneling, and aliasing of the title of the game to provide them with access to the game. But what remains still is the will of individuals in China to surmount the government despite high degrees of censorship. Commerce and video gamers who will not be censored are alive and trying to make the best of their stations. It is an interesting sign of the last twenty years where the video game is viewed as a threat to the state, just like the printing press was in the past.