China is reportedly blocking sales of Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the country’s form of eBay.

As detailed by Daniel Ahmad, an analyst for Niko Partners who covers the Asian video game industry, Chinese authorities have yet to approve the popular Nintendo Switch exclusive for official release, so fans were buying directly from ebay-style websites, or by changing their region on the Nintendo Switch eShop.

Related: Animal Crossing: New Horizons Changes Gender Options to ‘Styles’ for English Release

He details that listings on China’s version of eBay, Taobao, were removed on April 10th preventing people from purchasing the game on the website.

While the game hadn’t been approved by Chinese regulators, it had become wildly popular in China with many people purchasing it on Taobao or in local mom and pop shops as well as the Nintendo eShop by changing their locality.

Ahmad then details that the game is no longer searchable on Taobao and that the order to remove the game from the website comes from “China’s regulators.”

Related: Brie Larson Teams Up With Nintendo To Promote Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Ahmad further explains the game violates China’s policies involving user generated content and its popularity.

As reported by Eurogamer, Chinese law states video games or other media cannot contain anything that “threatens China’s national unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity.”

They can’t harm “the nation’s reputation, security or interests,” and can’t promote “superstitions”.

Games also can’t “incite obscenity, drug use, violence or gambling,” although loot boxes are permitted.

They can’t include anything that “harms public ethics” or China’s “culture and traditions”.

Finally, games are prohibited from including “other content” that might violate China’s constitution or law, and have to be published in China by a Chinese company.

Ahmad believes the game was banned due to players using the game to support and promote Hong Kong protestors.

While Hong Kong is still impacted by a lockdown due to COVID-19, games provide an alternative way to gather instead of an outdoor protest.

Activist Joshua Wong, also took to Twitter and explained how HK protesters could use Animal Crossing.

He detailed that many Hong Kong protestors are using the game to “fight for Democracy.” He shared an image of his island from the game that features a character saying, “Free Hong Kong.” There is also a place mat that reads “Free Hong Kong. Revolution Now.”

Wong added in a subsequent tweet, “For lots of people around the world who play this game, they have to put their ideal life into the game, and for HKers, we have to put our protest movement and our protest sites inside the game.”

Ahmad notes that the game can still be purchased at mom and pop stores, changing your locality in the Nintendo eShop, and contacting a private seller through Taobao in order to purchase the game under the counter.

Along with the game being blocked on Taobao, Eurogamer reports the sale of the game has also been blocked on Pinduoduo by Chinese authorities.

Although Animal Crossing has been pulled from multiple websites, Chinese gamers appeared determined to play the global hit.

What do you make of China banning Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

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