Chinese game regulation: Genshin Impact, Shin Megami Tensei and Naruto cited in leaked document

“Japanese anime culture” and "Giving the player the option of choosing between good and evil" are deemed inappropriate as well

Image Credit : zhang kaiyv

Publication date of the original Japanese article: 2021-09-29 22:44 (JST)
Translated by. Matthew Parker


Internal documents from the Beijing International Game Innovation Conference that was held from Sept 24th – 26th in Beijing, China have become a hot topic after making their way online. Major game companies including Tencent took part in the government-spearheaded conference which is held once per year. Materials that were used in a presentation at this event are thought to have leaked online.


The leaked document was written by Chen Zhenyu, who is the Directorate General of Auditing Authority and is about “the essentials and analysis of content review for game publishing.” In the document, the contents that are directly subject to content regulations are listed in detail and is divided into chapters based on the type of content being banned. One of the fascinating points is that several games are directly named as examples. Let’s take a close look at the parts where the targets of these restrictions are shown.

The first target of these regulations is related to “sense of values.” Games using money-sink designs such as Gacha games and Pay to Win games, as well as games depicting degeneracy or the criminal world are listed as inappropriate content. Giving the player the option of choosing between good and evil is also looked down upon. Furthermore “Japanese anime culture” also falls under the target of these restrictions. The manga Naruto, as well as the mobile games Onmyoji and Arknights were cited as examples with large market shares.

Continuing on with content deemed inappropriate due to values are those which are deemed “immoral or inhumane.” Plague Inc. where you create a pandemic aiming to wipe out the human race and the war survival game This War of Mine were singled out here.

The Boys‘ Love (Yaoi) genre is also subject to being cracked down on and a further point to bring attention to was that “effeminate looking men” were deemed to be inappropriate content. The criteria given for what is considered to be an “effeminate looking male” is said to be whether “it is confusing or not when trying to judge the gender subjectively (not being able to tell if it is a male without reading about the character).” The males in Genshin Impact were stated to frequently be depicted as overly effeminate and Venti was declared the prime example.


The second target of these regulation are cultural related. Points of concern in regards to names and game titles as well as the subjects they deal with and how they should be regulated were given here. Some of the examples seen as inappropriate were related to the Japanese Shinsengumi as well as the Bushido code.

The third target of these regulations are those that are related to historical views. The sensationalizing and distortion of facts and reality as well as the alteration of historical figures falls under these regulations. This includes the glorification of the Axis powers in World War 2, as well as the depiction of guns, equipment and uniforms used by Japan and the Nazis and making reference to such related historical figures. Azur Lane and Black Surge Night were cited here. In addition, Nobunaga’s Ambition was considered to be “an excessive glorification of a foreign country’s history.”

The fourth target of the regulations are religion based. Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse was cited as an example of unsuitable depictions of religious figures.


In addition to the restrictions to be imposed on such content, the technical aspects and the basis for a lot of these regulations has become clear. Among them are some which overlap with the “self-regulation guidelines” announced by the China Game Publishers Association Publications Committee the other day (Related Article). While the self-regulation guidelines left much room for interpretation, the leaked documents this time establishes a much stricter standard for these restrictions.

The strictness of regulatory standards by the authorities seems to have been taken as a surprise even by Chinese users. It is also reported that the posts related to this document on Chinese social media sites have been deleted across the board. While it’s still in the development stage, content crackdowns in China are likely to become even more severe.