An interesting post about China’s recent ruling to ban certain types of TV shows hit videogame news sites sometime last week. The Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) released six new guidelines that dictate what can and can’t be aired in China. The six new guidelines are as follows:
- Broadcast television shows cannot be remakes of foreign shows or based on online games
- Historical dramas should not be dramatized
- Dramas should have a clear distinction between good and evil
- Business themed dramas should promote good business morals and practices
- Shows that are set in a modern setting should show conservative morals
- Online novels are now “not encouraged”
Since this is a videogame site, the online game remake ban will of course be the main subject. However, the ban on shows based on MMO’s and online games is a puzzling one. According to a few other posts, only one such show exists on Chinese television stations though is expected to shut down soon while two other MMO based shows that were in the works will likely never see the light of day. I can somewhat understand SARFT’s reservations about remaking foreign shows – since they have been getting a lot of slack for plagiarizing animes and Korean based shows – though I don’t understand the MMO deal. For one, the show about to be cancelled, a martial arts fantasy called Rift in the Sky, is based off a popular Chinese MMO series called Sword of the Yellow Emperor. The Chinese show is an adaptation of a Chinese property. Why not keep that on the air? One of the few Chinese shows that China can claim is their own and they decide to ban it. But I suppose there is more to this then just pure censorship.
What is it about online games that has the SARFT spooked enough to rule it out of broadcast? On Google searches, the words “China” and “MMO” result in articles about the huge business gaming has made for the Communist country. According to Wikipedia, and we know how trustworthy Wiki is, China is the world’s largest online gaming market. Zynga must be pissed.
But of course a good thing always has its flaws. Government departments have noticed the growing gaming trend in China and a few unlucky gamers just can’t help themselves when it comes to “videogame addiction.” Due to such unproductive work, the government decided to place some restrictions on the length of time one Chinese gamer spends on a game. The Anti-Addiction Game System sets up a timer for the gamer and if the gamer continues to play passed the allotted three hours, their experience points get reduced or erased if they pass five hours. This is a per day basis. Normally I believe people have the right to decide what to do with their free time, but this type of government restriction has shown it’s working and the Chinese gamers seem to have responded well in return.
Ah, but this doesn’t explain why SARFT is banning shows based off MMO and online gaming properties. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll get an official answer explaining the decision. But maybe you can. Shoot us an answer in the comments section.