Chinese regulators have introduced a new initiative, “Healthy China 2030,” which will bring further scrutiny and surveillance of video game and online content under the guise of protecting the mental health of Chinese children.
According to Chinese-centric technology news outlet TechNode, the announcement stated that a rise in “mental disorders, including gaming addiction” among children had become “a public health problem related to the future of the country.”
The announcement named “online games, live streaming, short videos, and educational apps” as targets for further regulation, and stated that the plan is currently supported by “12 departments including the National Health Commission, Publicity Department, and National Radio and Television Administration.”
As reported by gamesindustry.biz, “one section of the plan calls for increased supervision of online content and games, including crackdowns on those that include online gambling, “bloody violence,” and pornography.” TechNode also adds that “bullying” will be another issue central to the initiative.
Gambling in video games especially as it pertains to loot boxes was a hot topic of debate in 2019 and appears it will continue to be so in 2020. The UK Gambling Commission made a ruling in July 2019 that the loot box mechanic found in a number of video games including FIFA 19 does not constitute gambling.
Further moderation and censorship of content in China will most likely have far reaching effects for media across the world, as previously seen when gay representation was included only in brief, easily-editable scenes and was removed from Singapore screenings of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker or when Steam indefinitely delayed submitted games whose content was critical of the government and ongoing protest of Hong Kong, or when Hearthstone player Blitzchung was banned for showing support for Hong Kong protestors.
What do you make of these new regulations coming from China?