Genshin Impact’s in-game chat is censoring “Hong Kong”, “Taiwan” and “words”

By Sherif Saed
7 October 2020 11:16 GMT

Genshin Impact is censoring a lot of words, and some don’t make sense.

Genshin Impact, the Breath of the Wild-style, free-to-play action RPG, has been quite the unexpected hit since its release. Though players are mostly enjoying themselves – aside from the all gacha and microtransactions talk – they recently discovered that the game censors certain words.

Typing Taiwan or Hong Kong into the in-game chat simply turns these words into asterisks, which is a common way of censoring speech. Genshin Impact is a Chinese-developed game, so it’s understandable why some of those words are being censored.

Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad pointed out on Twitter that Genshin Impact is not the first nor only Chinese game to censor those words. Being based in China, developer Mihoyo must comply with local regulations, which explicitly state that games must not include “anything that threatens China’s national unity.” Obviously, a word is not a threat to China’s unity, but it’s likely the developer just wanted to close the door and ban sensitive words outright.

China has always referred to Taiwan, recognised by most of the world as a sovereign state, as Chinese Taipei. Restrictions also extend to games that display the Taiwanese flag, and as Ahmad adds, cover many other forms of content, such as historical.

“Chinese developed games have to comply with a ton of content and in game censorship rules because of these laws and regulations,” Ahmed explained.

“There is a list of banned words that cannot be used in game / via chat functions. Foreign developers also need to comply when publishing games in China,” he adds, which is why so many publishers operate a separate – censored – version of their games in China, something that isn’t as easy for Chinese-made games to always do.

There are, however, a few bizarre inclusions into Genshin Impact’s list of naughty words. According to reports on Reddit and Twitter, the game also censors “words”, “enemies”, as well as other names like “Putin”, “Stalin” and “Hitler”. The list likely includes even more innocuous words, but it’s not clear whether some ended up on the list simply by mistake.

Mihoyo could potentially ease these restrictions in the game’s global version, but the developer has so far not responded to the outcry.

If you’re deep in the Genshin Impact hole, or want to dip your toes in, we have a few helpful guides to get you started. Read up this general FAQ to help answer any questions you may have about the game, and come back for our more detailed pages on cooking and the Secret Pirate Treasure.

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