Pokemon GO Banned in China Unless Deemed Safe

Thanks to the Chinese government’s censorship, Pokemon GO is banned in China. It never managed to get there, and it won’t any time soon. The state censor deemed the game unsafe because of possible security and safety risks. Because of this, Pokemon fans in China will have to make do with the various knockoffs popping up on Google Play and the App Store. It’s a touchy subject, and I’ll try to remain neutral.

Pokemon GO Banned in China Unless Deemed Safe
Pokemon GO Banned in China Unless Deemed Safe

For anyone still unfamiliar with the concept, Pokemon GO is an augmented-reality game. It uses GPS location to immerse you into a world that mirrors ours, with Pokemon popping up in real-life places. According to this Reuters article, China’s state censor won’t let Pokemon GO release in China. The China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association games panel decided that the game is a ”threat to geographical information security and the threat to transport and the personal safety of consumers”. It bears mentioning that the state censor governs the Association.

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So, there are two problems here. The first one is public and consumer safety. Sure, we got many reports of trainers being baited by Pokemon Lures and then mugged. A lot of them ended up falling into ditches and bodies of water and hurting themselves. Let’s not even get into the wide palette of assorted traffic accidents caused by unwary Pokemon GO players. Oh, and innocent civilians whose houses became Gyms and PokeStops having to shoo idiot trainers of their property.

The consumer safety argument is not a baseless claim, is what I’m saying. However, perhaps this isn’t the prime concern of the Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

The second, and probably more important issue, is the “geographical information security” problem. You could make the claim that this is also a valid argument, and I wouldn’t contest you on that. It’s pretty clear that the Chinese government is reluctant to allow foreign governments and companies to have access to geographical information. Besides, Google Maps, which Pokemon GO relies on to work, isn’t allowed in China either. So, no matter how you look at it, the game has a snowball’s chance in Hell to make it to China.

Allow me to add a possible extra problem – the history between Japan and China. Their issues still ring very strong. China only recently allowed foreign consoles into the country. Additionally, many Chinese still strongly dislike the idea of Japanese products in their country.

The game might eventually make it to China once the state censor deems it “safe”. It’s anybody’s guess what that means in practice. We’ll see what the future holds, but personally, I doubt we’ll see Pokemon GO in China.

What’s your opinion on China’s Pokemon GO ban? Tell us in the comments!

Author JoeTheBard profile picture
A language teacher and video game enthusiast turned rogue, Joe is on a quest to become the ultimate gaming journalist. This is somewhat hampered by his belief that the golden age of gaming ended with the PlayStation One, but he doesn't let that stop him. His favorite games include Soul Reaver and Undertale. Other interests are D'n'D, dad rock, complaining about movies, and being the self-appointed office funny man, which nobody else agrees with.

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