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Content/Censorship Guidelines for Game Developers


Game developers have a lot to keep in mind as they create their new IPs. Character design, maps, names, music, coding, troubleshooting, among countless other duties-- what looks good to us, what will our players like, and most importantly, for Chinese developers, what will the government permit. According to a 2010 PPT (still in use as late as last year) about the online game content review process put out by the Internet Culture Office and the Ministry of Culture, government reviewers will focus on 19 points when deciding if a game may proceed with publishing. In addition to the 19 points, developers must also follow a six-page document titled Interim Measures for the Administration of Online Games, which further details requirements a developer must meet before publication of their game. Below, I've outlined the PPT's details for each of the 19 points, which the Ministry of Culture states is useful for developer self-censorship in order to pass the review process.

Game contents are reviewed in accordance with Article 4 and Article 18 of the Interim Measures for the Administration of Online Games (hereafter referred to as Measures) with regard to the following aspects:





  • The name of the game shall not contain anything prohibited by Measures Article 4.
  • If the name of the game includes famous people, historical events, place names, etc., there shall be no distortion of reality.
  • The name of the game should not include anything related to politics, military, religion, or other sensitive issues.


  • If the background of the game includes ancient history, modern history, literary masterpieces, or historical figures as themes, there should be no distortions to history, famous people, or character appearances. There should be no misleading of minors by using false or incorrect concepts.
  • If the background of the game involves religious issues, they shall not be exaggerated or distorted. There should be no misleading of minors by using false or incorrect concepts.
  • Game content and things related to game content should not be exaggerated.
  • The description of the game background shall not contain any language from Measures Article 9.


  • Game background music should comply with national copyright management laws and regulations, shall not infringe the copyright of others, shall not provide illegal downloading service
  • Game background music should not contain deep, terrifying, manic effects, or other effects that adversely affect physical and mental health.
  • Fights shall not contain shouting, pain, screams, or other effects that adversely affect physical and mental health.
  • The game should not contain exaggerated weapon sound effects, such as sound of impact, or other violent sound effects.


  • Game scenes cannot show ghastly, terrifying, bloody, pornographic, or other environments not conducive to physical and mental health.
  • Game scenes shall not draw attention to exaggerated bloodiness, terrifying bloodstains, amputations, corpses, skulls, and other images.
  • Game scenes do not show exaggerated pornography, non-artistic nudity, and other images.


  • If your game map uses a real map section as a model, you must strictly follow the relevant provisions of national map publishing, map boundaries, zoning, and the reality of the map boundary shall not be deviated from to avoid misleading minors.
  • If the name of the game involves an ancient of modern place name, there shall be no distortions to the chosen concept to avoid misleading minors.


  • Character images cannot be bloody, terrifying, or exaggerated, and cannot have forms or performances that are not conducive to physical or mental health.
  • No character can have an improper appearance; the flag, national emblem, red cross, other legally protected patterns, and religious signs or words may not appear on clothes.
  • NPC names may not distort historical or real people
  • The function of NPCs must not violate Measures Article 9.


  • Building names may not contain anything prohibited by Article 9 of Measures.
  • If the building is named after a famous building or famous person, there should be no distortions of reality.
  • Buildings should not be bloody, horrifying, pornographic, or otherwise damaging to physical and mental health.
  • Buildings should not distort, slander, or sully the structure of ancient and modern famous buildings.


  • Prop types shall not promote force, instigation of crime, obscenity, pornography, superstition, gambling, drug use, cults, bloodiness, or any reactionary forms.
  • Prop names shall not be bloody, obscene, reactionary, superstitious, cult-like, shall not abet crime, should not be related to sex or other sensitive words, and should not include ancient or modern proper nouns.
  • Knives, swords, axes, and other weapon designs shall not be exaggerated/hyperbolic or have an exposed blade in order to avoid the adverse effects of violence on minors.
  • Special patterns and text logos may not appear on props.
  • Props shall not appear bloody, horrifying, or have an appearance that is adverse to physical and mental health.
  • Props shall not contain anything prohibited by Measures Article 9.


  • The game should not have factors that encourage PK (PK: Player Killing, fighting between players in the game for the purpose of ending a virtual life).
  • PK behavior between players must involve the consent of both sides before being carried out, and players must be able to withdraw from PK at any time, and not contain other incentives to avoid stimulating strong retaliation among players.
  • PK shall be limited in terms of time and place.
  • PK scenes shall not contain anything adverse to physical or mental health, promote violence, or other similar phenomenon.
  • The game should not encourage players to fight each other, should not have a malicious PK reward system, and should not have a system for rewarding kills.


  • Do not mislead minors to form the wrong view of marriage.
  • Do not mislead minors on understanding the concept of ancient Chinese marriage.
  • Do not adversely affect the moral quality of minors regarding marriage concepts and moral values.
  • There shall be no pornographic content, and there shall be nothing sexually explicit.
  • Marriage systems should be consistent with the relevant provisions of China’s marriage law, and there should be no behavior contrary to the will of others.


  • To cultivate a player’s sense of responsibility, with the principle of correctly understanding the way to educate offspring, there should be no adverse effects to the moral concept, moral quality, or outlook on life of minors.
  • There should be no pornographic content.
  • Taking care of children in the game should not force players to stay online for a long time, and should not include factors that cause minors to become addicted to the game.
  • Should be consistent with China’s family planning and juvenile protection law, and relevant laws and regulations of the relevant provisions.
  • Shall not contain any other adverse effects on minors.


  • Pets should not force the player to stay online for long periods of time, and should not include factors that cause minors to become addicted to the game.
  • Shall not include cruelty to animals or any other violations of animal protection laws. Animals considered national treasures should not be hunted or kept as pets. Pets should not be used as tools of attack.
  • Shall not contain any other adverse effects on minors.


  • Quests shall not contain anything prohibited by Article 9 of Measures.
  • If the story uses ancient history, modern history, or literary masterpieces as a theme, there should be no distortion of reality that could mislead minors.
  • Quests should not force users to play for more than an hour, and there should be no rewards for long-term play sessions to avoid factors that could induce minors to become addicted to the game.


  • The game’s categories of professions should not include any serious violations of the laws of natural science.
  • Should not seriously violate China’s social and moral norms, as it’s easy for minors to pursue a misleading career.
  • Should not contain anything prohibited by Article 9 of Measures.


  • The wishes of team members shall not be infringed upon, and they should be able to freely leave the team.
  • Team badges should not have any sensitive patterns or text.
  • The team channel should have no speech that violates Article 9 of Measures.


  • The game may not offer gambling or gambling-related functions; there should be no lottery or speculation in the game.
  • If the game includes dice, cards, numbers, or animals as props for the function of the game, they should not be used as bargaining chips, and results may not have any effect on the player’s level or skill.


  • Life skills in the game should have a realistic educational significance for the player.
  • There should be no serious violation of the laws of natural science.
  • Should not contain anything prohibited by Article 9 of Measures.

  • Text filters should be applied to all the following content areas, with no violations to Article 9 of Measures:
1.       Naming systems (including character names, room names, pet names, team names, guild names, prop names, and other named units)
2.       Any interactive chat system in the game (including public, guild, district, team, individual, and other channels)
3.       Information release systems (including game rumors systems, bulletin board, description systems, etc.)
4.       NPC language
5.       The game’s official forum

  • If the game offers character expression, movement, or other emotional systems, there should be no pornography, violence, or insult to others included.
  • Should not contain anything prohibited by Article 9 of Measures.

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