According to a new government memo acquired by the South China Morning Post, it’s about to get a lot harder for queer people in China to see themselves in the media they consume.
According to the memo, the country has laid out new restrictions for video games, stating that they are not just “pure entertainment,” and must portray “a correct set of values.” Unfortunately, those values include homophobia.
The new regulations come from a recent internal training course designed for the state-backed gaming association in the country. It was designed to help Chinese game developers learn what is and isn't allowed when they design games so they can make sure their games get approved for release.
While some of the regulations in the memo are more broad, saying that games shouldn’t give players the option to choose to be evil, others are much more specific to queer characters.
“If regulators can’t tell the character’s gender immediately, the setting of the characters could be considered problematic and red flags will be raised,” the memo says. It continues, saying that if a male character dresses or acts like a woman, the game will be banned.
Recently, some Chinese game developers, including Tencent Holdings and NetEase, two gaming giants in the country, met with Chinese authorities to talk about similar restrictions. At the September 8 meeting, they were told that games that promote wrong values like love of money and “gay love” must be toned down and adjusted, or they would be banned.
Last month the nation also announced that “sissy men” would be banned from broadcast TV. This is part of a larger wave of anti-gay laws in the country aimed at rebuilding “traditional values” and “traditional masculinity” in China.