A Genshin Impact player has allegedly been banned for 15 years for mocking the Chinese government and stating COVID-19 came from China.
Citing a contact who had forwarded them the relevant material from Chinese social media, YouTuber Timaeus GenshinLab reports that a player on the Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau server ranted on social media that they were banned for 15 years, though swore blind that they were innocent.
“Good! The Self Censorship of Genshin Impact!” the rant began. “Banned me for 15 years, Genshin not only violated laws and also censored itself! And dare not tell me the reason! I swear I never did any unlawful activity.” The provided reasons for the ban as “(Default Reason)”.
“He also said he had never used any external plugins or third-party software and had topped off a lot of money in the game,” the YouTuber added.
Sending an email to Genshin Impact customer service looking for further explanation, the user was then reportedly told that miHoYo had determined the user’s speech had violated Genshin Impact’s rules and regulations.
The user then wrote to the game’s customer service, calling out Genshin Impact for censoring certain words and phrases and arguing that that their lengthy banning with no prior warning violated the consumer protection laws and regulations of his resident country, Taiwan.
They even threatened miHoYo with legal action.
Timaeus claims that after the message began to circulate in the Genshin Impact community, one user claimed they knew the reason why.
According to them, the banned user was known to regularly discuss COVID-19, even openly stating that the initial virus came from China.
In addition, the banned user allegedly confessed to abusing the Serenitea Pot area – a “home base” players can decorate, allow other players to visit, and more – by arranging items into a “sensitive pattern” which allegedly mocked Chinese government buildings.
Tiameus further explains that while some users mocked and derided the banned player for deliberately violating the game’s TOS, others supported them and encouraged the idea of taking legal action against miHoYo.
15 year bans are not abnormal for Genshin Impact.
Two posts from 2021, one from Reddit and the other from miHoYo’s own HoyoLab, note that certain users have before been banned for 15 years for engaging in “unlawful activities” which violated Genshin Impact’s terms of service.As found under the third point of its Rules of Usage, miHoYo state, “You acknowledge and confirm that you may not, either directly or indirectly, do or attempt to do any of the following action with respect to any or all of the COGNOSPHERE Services:”
These offending actions include sharing obscene or offensive content, mocking or harassing an individual or group, infringing miHoYo’s copyrights, and exploiting the game in anyway.
It should be noted Genshin Impact has two Chinese servers, with all other servers classified as “global servers.”
Yet, with this ban, it seems the player on the global servers have been yet again held to rules that would typically be for players within mainland China.
While the TOS doesn’t explicitly state “thou shall not mock the Chinese Government or offend them,” the Shangahai-based miHoYo have complied with CCP orders in the past.
In October 2020, players discovered that the words “Hong Kong” and “Taiwan” were censored in multiplayer chat, while earlier this year, miHoYo announced four of the game’s playable characters would have their default outfits censored on Chinese servers.
In his coverage of the situation, YouTuber Hero Hei opined that, unfortunately, “given how Hoyoverse is a Chinese company, and the TOS you agree to when you sign up, I don’t think he’s gonna be able to fight this one successfully.”
He also proposed miHoYo may even have members of the CCP on their board, making any such battle even less likely to result in victory.
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