China puts a hit on gangster video games

A man uses a computer at an Internet cafe in central China. The government just banned online games that glorify organized crime.

China's list of what it considers to be unacceptable actions or depictions in the media just got a couple items longer.

The country censors the three T's: Tibetan and Taiwanese independence, and the Tienanmen Square massacre. It holds a tight leash for Google's local search engine, especially when it comes to Falun Gong, religion, and questioning Communist rule. And controversy over the Green Dam Internet filter exhibited the government's disapproval of pornography, homosexuality, drugs, and gambling.

This week, we can add "depictions of organized crime" to that list.

China issued an immediate ban on games that glorify "mafia life." The prohibition also outlaws any online ads or links pointing to such games, according to the Associated Press. Those who ignore the ban face "severe" but unspecified punishment.

Such games “embody antisocial behavior like killing, beating, looting, and raping," according to the Chinese Ministry of Culture, and “gravely threatens and distorts the social order and moral standards, easily putting young people under harmful influence.”

With the 60th anniversary of the communist party hitting on October 1, the country has imposed several new rules aimed at cementing social stability.

The NYTimes describes how "by Tuesday, a number of popular games, including 'Godfather,' 'Gangster' and 'Mafioso Hitman,' had been excised from the ether, although scores of other violence-laden games were still available."

In the US, politicians are also wrestling with how best to handle violent games. Some have said that "mature" games are worse than Rated-R movies, while others have tried to cozy up to video-game makers.


Are games about organized crime more worrisome than those about general violence? Let us know below, or on Twitter.

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