A photograph of the League of Legends World Championship 2017 Finals – between SKT T1 and Samsung Galaxy – held in the Beijing National Stadium, China. 9 November 2017, 02:22:26. Photo: Richard Ye
Gamers are scrutinizing League of Legends for signs of China’s censorship
  • Mon, 10/21/2019 - 21:02

By Jane Li
October 21, 2019

Video games within China have long been subject to censorship. Now gamers are wondering if terms deemed politically sensitive in China are also being filtered out for players in other regions—thanks to the reach of Chinese tech giant Tencent, the world’s largest video game publisher.

The creep of China’s censorship regime came into prominence this month after a Beijing-backed backlash against the NBA in response to a tweet from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in support of the ongoing Hong Kong protests. Tencent, the NBA’s biggest foreign partner, temporarily suspended live-streaming some games. Soon after, US video-game powerhouse Blizzard Entertainment—Tencent owns a 5% stake in its parent company—banned a Hong Kong Hearthstone gamer for shouting a protest slogan during a post-game interview. (After an outcry against Blizzard, the suspension was later reduced to six months.)