Chinese Communist Party Worried Gaming is Producing a Nation of 'Money-Worshipping Sissy Men'
Gaming has become hugely popular in China in the last decade. Market research firm Niko Partners estimated 743 million play video games in China, 110 million of whom are under 18.
The Chinese government has ordered gaming giants to check the content of their games amid fears they are increasing "effeminacy" among the nation’s teenagers and young men.
On Wednesday, 8 September, bosses of companies like Tencent
and NetEase were summoned to a meeting in Beijing where they were told in no uncertain terms that unless they made changes the authorities would step in.
The official Xinhua news agency reported the latest edicts: "Obscene and violent content and those breeding unhealthy tendencies, such as money-worship and effeminacy, should be removed.”
Xinhua reported the companies had been ordered to "change game rules and designs inducing addiction."
The gaming giants have already been ordered to limit the amount of time under-18s can game to three hours a week during term time, amid fears it is affecting their education.
Tencent rolled out a facial recognition "midnight patrol" function in July to crack down on children posing as adult gamers.
The share prices of some of the big gaming companies have plunged in recent days, amid fears that their profits will be hit by new government restrictions.
Regulators have also ordered broadcasters not to show "abnormal aesthetics" such as "sissy" men on television.
University of Hong Kong associate professor Geng Song told AFP: “The target is driven by a perception among sections of society that ‘effeminate men are physically weak and emotionally fragile’.”
The professor said Beijing saw heterosexuality as the norm and was anxious about China following western trends which have seen an increase in homosexuality, bisexuality and people presenting as transgender or gender-neutral.
Derek Hird, a senior lecturer in Chinese Studies at Lancaster University, told AFP: "Some leaders may believe that excessive gaming is also contributing to a softening of character in young men.”
The crackdown comes amid a surge in demand for cosmetic surgery from Chinese men.
According to iResearch, around 17 percent of male white collar workers in China have had cosmetic treatments like nose jobs and eye surgery.
China's cosmetic surgery industry is now worth US$30 billion annually.