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Friday, February 17, 2006

MMOs are bad for you, mmkay?

Last year the Chinese government imposed a limit on the amount of online play per day, per game that young individuals were allowed, supposedly to limit the harmful effect of MMOs on the populace. Players got around this buy just playing more games, or having multiple accounts or ‘alts’ on their game of choice. Well, it seems the government has decided to take things a little further. As of March 1, teenagers in China will be banned from locales offering "audio and video products and electronic games" which "harm national security and incite hatred toward other nationalities." This ban includes internet cafés; karaoke bars and discos, and is part of a drive by the Chinese government to “limit the immoral and harmful content, especially for young people."

I’m sorry, but ‘Immoral and harmful content’? This doesn’t look like a focused project on particular games, music and other media that glorify disruptive behavior or encourage violence or social delinquency; this is a blanket ban on anything that might just encourage original thought. This is the kind of legislation that will ultimately cause the current Chinese regime to fall. History has shown us repeatedly that people do not stand for this sort of legislative smothering. If China were trying to isolate themselves from the rest of the world in other ways, this might just work, but as it stands, they are trying to be an active part of the global economy and develop a culture of consumerism in their country. Consumerist behavior and censorship are directly at odds and simply cannot coexist.



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