Asia Pacific Censorship News

2018: Oct-Dec

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A Fortnite on...

China seems to have banned Fortnite and PUBG as unethical


Link Here 12th December 2018
Full story: Games censorship in China...A wide range of censorship restrictions
Earlier this month, the Chinese government moved forward with its new Online Ethics Review Committee, a government censor that exists solely to review online games and determine whether or not they are acceptable according to Chinese government ethics.

The creation of the new censor was in response to government concerns that Chinese citizens were playing online games that weren't being directly regulated by China. The censor was tasked with considering twenty online games in its first round of reviews.

As a result two major video games, Fortnite and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds , have been banned from in China altogether. Both games were big fixtures of the online multiplayer communities in China, but may not be permitted to return since they have not been designated as needing corrective action but rather appear to have been banned outright.

According to online reports , those reviews have found both Fortnite and PUBG to be in direct violation of the new online ethical rules. According to reports, these two titles were both banned for their gratuitous depictions of blood and gore.

Other titles, like League of Legends , Overwatch , and Diablo were noted as needing corrective action but are not actually banned as of yet.

 

 

Another One Bites the Dust...

Malaysian censors cuts to Bohemian Rhapsody


Link Here 5th December 2018
Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 UK / USA music biography by Bryan Singer.
Starring Rami Malek, Joseph Mazzello and Mike Myers. BBFC link IMDb

Bohemian Rhapsody is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound.

Initial reports from those who had seen Bohemian Rhapsody in theatres indicated the Malaysian Film Censorship Board (LPF) had cut up to 24 minutes of footage from the Freddie Mercury biopic, as homosexuality is banned under the country's sodomy laws.

However in reality the cuts totalled about 3 minutes. Censor board chairman Mohd Zamberi Abdul Aziz said that seven cuts involved muting 'bad words', while the four gay scenes involved cuts to men kissing each other, men rubbing each other, and a group of men in dresses partying in a mansion.

It's easy to see why audiences believed something more substantial was missing from the film. The Malaysian cut leaves major narrative holes in the film. Key scenes no longer make sense.

The most noticeable changes to Bohemian Rhapsody involve censoring intimacy between its queer male characters. The physical aspects of Freddie Mercury's relationship to Paul Prenter (Allen Leech) -- his personal manager and the film's antagonist -- are gone entirely. A meet-cute with future partner Jim Hutton (Aaron McCusker) is virtually incomprehensible.

As Zamberi told the Malay Mail, censors took the further step of removing a line in the credits mentioning that Mercury and Hutton lived a happy life until the iconic singer's 1991 death. It showed that they were in a gay relationship, the censor explained.

A line in which Mercury (Rami Malek) comes out to then-fiancee Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) is removed from the film. I think I'm bisexual, he says. Austin insists he's gay, which is also cut.

While preparing for Queen's legendary performance at the 1985 Live Aid concert, the singer tells his bandmates that he's HIV-positive. I've got it, Mercury says. Got what? a group member asks. AIDS, he responds. The censors cut everything after I've got it.

 

 

Offsite Article: And who better to the job?...


Link Here 5th December 2018
Full story: Film censorship in New Zealand...At the Office of Film and Literature Classification
New Zealand film censor, with a keen eye on upcoming UK cesorship, publishes a report on porn viewing by the young and inevitably finds that they want porn to be censored

See article [pdf] from classificationoffice.govt.nz

 

 

A few translated words...

Sony exec speaks about the company's new found enthusiasm for video game censorship


Link Here 3rd December 2018
Sony president Atsushi Morita has made the first official comments about his company's new found enthusiasm for video game censorship. Posted on Japanese website Ebitsu.net, but without official translation, he purportedly told attendees at a Japan Studio event that expression restrictions [have been] adjusted to the global standards. He apparently concluded:

Considering the balance between freedom of expression and safety to children, I think that it is a difficult problem.

One video game series thats been affected by Sony's censorship  is Senran Kagura . The producer of the latest game, Kenichiro Takaki commented that the next title in the series is going to take time as it deals with these new regulations. He said:

We have to make games in a way that they aren't misunderstood. Certain things are harder than they've ever been before. Given that, I think [the game] is going to take some time.

 

 

Which bright spark thought of that?...

Winnie the Pooh is replaced by a light cloud in the Chinese release of the game Kingdom Hearts 3


Link Here 3rd December 2018
Full story: Games censorship in China...A wide range of censorship restrictions
Kingdom Hearts 3 is an upcoming video game that features Winnie the Pooh.

Now China's president Xi Jinping has taken offence at his gait and pot belly being likened to Pooh bear so Chinese censors have to spend hours ensuring that images of the bear are airbrushed out of Chinese life.

A Chinese website sharing images of the upcoming game revealed the game's interesting form of censorship. The iconic Winnie the Pooh is censored out with a gigantic white light.

Kingdom Hearts 3 launches January 29th, 2019.

 

 

Complete control...

Chinese rules requiring internet companies to record all users online activity have commenced


Link Here 1st December 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Chinese internet companies have started keeping detailed records of their users' personal information and online activity. The new rules from China's internet censor went into effect Friday.

The new requirements apply to any company that provides online services which can influence public opinion or mobilize the public to engage in specific activities, according to a notice posted on the Cyber Administration of China's website.

Citing the need to safeguard national security and social order, the Chinese internet censor said companies must be able to verify users' identities and keep records of key information such as call logs, chat logs, times of activity and network addresses.

Officals will carry out inspections of companies' operations to ensure compliance. But the Cyber Administration didn't make clear under what circumstances the companies might be required to hand over logs to authorities.

 

 

Extract Repression in anybody's book...

10 years in Chinese prison for writing a homoerotic novel


Link Here 30th November 2018
Full story: Book Censorship in China...Offical book censors and self censorship

In an assault on freedom of expression, a court in China sentenced a successful novelist, Ms. Liu, to 10 years in prison on October 31 for including explicit homoerotic content in her work. The charge against her was making and selling obscene material for profit. Information about the case has just recently been circulated online, generating a widespread outcry on social media against censorship as well as the disproportionate and excessive severity of her sentence.

The writer, who uses the pen name Tianyi, was arrested in 2017, after the publication of her novel Occupy . Pornography is illegal in China . The 1997 penal code forbids depicting sexual acts except for medical or artistic purposes. According to police in Anhui Province, in eastern China, the book described obscene behavior between males, including violence, abuse, and humiliation.

...See the full article from hrw.org

 

 

Winnie whines...

Chinese Disneyland looks set to be purged of its Winnie the Pooh rides


Link Here 29th November 2018

One of the most beloved Disney characters seems to be on the way out at the Shanghai Disneyland and it all has to do with the Chinese president getting all wound up by mild joke.

A report has come out that Winnie the Pooh and virtually all references to the bear may be taken out of the park in Shanghai. That would include removing all merchandise, having no character meet-and-greet, and reworking two rides to different themes. One of the rides is The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh dark ride and the other is a spinning teacup ride called Pooh's Hunny Pot Spin.

According to a report from Theme Park University, this would all be at the command of Chinese President Xi Jinping who took umbrage at the jokey cartoon comparison of Xi Jinping and Winnie the Pooh.

 

 

Fighting censorship...

Russia considers increasing fines as Google refuses to comply with Russia's list of banned websites


Link Here 26th November 2018
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia's state censors have formally accused Google of breaking the law by not removing links to websites that are banned in the country.

Roskomnadzor, the state communications censor, said in a statement that the company had not connected to a database of banned sources in the country, leaving it out of compliance.

The potential penalty that Google could face is currently 700,000 roubles, or about $10,000. But Reuters reports that the Russian government has been considering more drastic actions, including fining companies up to 1 percent of annual revenue for failing to comply with similar laws.

 

 

Serious issues...

Ofcom investigates a complaint about a Chinese propaganda channel broadcasting a confession said to be extracted under duress.


Link Here 25th November 2018
A British corruption investigator has asked the UK's TV censor Ofcomr to revoke Chinese state media's broadcast license for helping to stage his allegedly forced confession and subsequent jailing in China.

Peter Humphrey was arrested for his work in pursuing corruption in the pharmaceutical sector. He was sentenced to over two years in prison by a Shanghai court in 2014. He served hi time and was then deported.

He has now submitted a complaint to Ofcom about China Central Television (CCTV) for its alleged role in the episode. He said that CCTV journalists cooperated with police to extract, record, make post-production and then broadcast his confession worldwide through its international propaganda channels.

Humphrey accuses Chinese authorities of drugging him and locking him in a chair inside a small metal cage to conduct the confession saying:

China Central Television (CCTV) journalists then aimed their cameras at me and recorded me reading out the answers already prepared for me by the police, his complaint added.

A spokesman for Ofcom confirmed it had received a complaint which we are assessing as a priority. Ofcom has previously taken action against the broadcast of 'confessions' extracted under duress.

 

 

Thai film comes to grief...

Thi Baan is pulled from cinema release as film censors demand cuts to pivotal scene


Link Here 21st November 2018
Thi Baan Series 2 Episode 2 is a 2018 Thai comedy drama by Surasak Pongson

A monk grieving at his ex-girlfriend's funeral is the alleged scene that caused a Thai film to be censored just days before its Thursday release.

A group of Thai directors revealed that what the film censors called a sensitive scene in Thi Baan The Series 2.2 depicted a monk character bursting into tears in front of his ex-girlfriend's coffin.

Thailand's film censor board has demanded that the pivotal scene be cut and the film resubmitted to the board before it can be screened at cinemas.

In the meantime the release of Thi Baan The Series 2.2 has been indefinitely postponed.

 

 

Thailand criticises US free speech...

Thailand objects to the TV drama Madam Secretary featuring its harsh lese majeste laws in a story line


Link Here 19th November 2018
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
Madam Secretary: Ghosts is a TV drama by Rob Greenlea.
Starring Téa Leoni, Tim Daly and Keith Carradine. IMDb

While Elizabeth was grooming to annouce her candidacy, Henry attended a conference organized by his ex-girlfriend in Thailand. She made a patriotic move by questioning the existence of the mornachy and was apprehended immediately. Henry was later put in jail bacause of his attempt to vouch for her. Dalton signed off on a covert operation to save both American citizens after they were sentenced to death for insulting the monarchy.

Thailand has hit out at the CBS show Madam Secretary on Sunday in response to an episode that referenced the country's monarchy, claiming it to be misleading.

Thailand has some of the world's harshest royal defamation laws and monitors royal criticism both in Thailand and abroad, with critics regularly being imprisoned for massive prison sentences of up to 15 years (per count).

Madam Secretary, came under fire after a character travels to Thailand and presumably criticises the monarchy at a conference before being hauled away by police.

Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had asked its embassy in Washington to convey concern and disappointment to CBS over the November 4 episode. The Thai authorities hold that the harsh sentences are justified by the high esteem in which many Thais hold the royalty. Ministry spokesperson Busadee Santipitaks claimed that:

The episode titled Ghosts presented the Kingdom of Thailand and the Thai monarchy in a misleading manner, leading to grave concern and dismay from many Thais who have seen it.

The episode in question did not take into account the sensitivity of the Thai people in this regard.

 

 

They have ways of making you not talk...

So how does China manage to delete Twitter posts it does not like?


Link Here 19th November 2018
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship

Despite being blocked in China, Twitter and other overseas social media sites have long been used freely by Chinese activists and government critics to speak about otherwise censored topics...until now.

China is now extending its reach to foreign sites outside of its borders. Chinese authorities have launched a stealth crackdown over the past year.

Chinese activists and other Twitter users say they have been pressured by police to delete sensitive tweets. In some cases, Chinese authorities are getting access to delete accounts themselves.

Last Friday, Cao reported that the Twitter account of Wu Gan, a Chinese activist sentenced last December to eight years in prison for subversion, had been suddenly deleted -- erasing more than 30,000 posts representing years of political critique and commentary. He was taken in by police over tweets critical of the Communist Party. After being held at a police station overnight, the user was made to hand over login information and watch police delete the tweets.

 

 

Offsite Article: Partly free...


Link Here 16th November 2018
Detailed report on Internet censorship laws in South Korea

See article from lawless.tech

 

 

Don't pull the trigger...

New Zealand film censor demands a suicide trigger warning to be prefixed to A Star is Born


Link Here 7th November 2018
Full story: Film censorship in New Zealand...At the Office of Film and Literature Classification
A Star Is Born is a 2018 USA romance by Bradley Cooper.
Starring Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott. IMDb

Seasoned musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) discovers-and falls in love with-struggling artist Ally (Gaga). She has just about given up on her dream to make it big as a singer - until Jack coaxes her into the spotlight. But even as Ally's career takes off, the personal side of their relationship is breaking down, as Jack fights an ongoing battle with his own internal demons.

New Zealand film chief censor, David Shanks, has demanded a new warning be added to prints of the Oscar-tipped remake of A Star Is Born .

Shanks reacted after complaints of viewer distress from Police Victim Support, who said two vulnerable young people had been severely 'triggered' after watching a suicide scene in the film. The Office of Film & Literature Classification said further complaints were also filed to them by the Mental Health Foundation.

The film was rated M (PG-15 in US terminology) in Australia and this rating then automatically accepted for distribution in New Zealand albeit with the age recommendation increased to 16. The Australian consumer advice noted: Sex scenes, offensive language and drug use, but the New Zealand censor has now added suicide to the list.

Shanks praised the film's handling of the topic but said he felt that the addition was still necessary. He said:

Many people in New Zealand have been impacted by suicide. For those who have lost someone close to them, a warning gives them a chance to make an informed choice about watching.

 

 

Offsite Article: China flexes its political muscles in Africa...


Link Here 10th October 2018
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
Learning that development 'aid' may be used to leverage media censorship and academic controls

See article from theglobeandmail.com

 

 

The title's banned but at least the film makers get their thumbs up...

Philippines film maker told to change the title of a movie called Fisting


Link Here 4th October 2018
Fisting; it's not for everyone. Certainly not for many Filipino moviegoers who apparently took offense with an independent film that used the word as its title.

Director Whammy Alcazaren's film originally titled Fisting now only goes by its much less graphic subtitle Never Tear Us Apart after festival organizer Cinema One Originals requested a title change.

The film makers responded by a stop in social media accounts made for the movie and take down other promotional materials with the former title.

According to a statement on Facebook, Alcazaren was willing to change the title on grounds of pragmatism:

We are doing these necessary steps so that we can continue the dialogue we wanted to have with the audience through our film, the statement reads.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), the agency that rates films, has also flagged the film's producers for its title . Apparently, the film's producers did not submit the publicity materials for review. The MTRCB also noted in a memorandum that all publicity materials for films must be suitable for a general audience.

Never Tear Us Apart is a family drama about an aging spy who discovers that his wife was impregnated by a monster called The Shadow.

 

 

Offsite Article: Sponsor Pressure...


Link Here 4th October 2018
Full story: China International Censors...China pressures other countries into censorship
How The Chinese Government Works To Censor Debate In Western Democracies

See article from npr.org

 

 

Steamy games...

Steam bans adult only games in China lest the website gets blocked


Link Here 2nd October 2018
Full story: Adult games on Steam...Steam changes policy and allows adults only gaming
Steam isn't officially available in China, but it's not officially blocked either. But this inbetween state still gives the censors unofficial power to ensure that Steam does not allow adult games to be sold in China.

Steam only recently stopped censoring adult games in the rest of the world but the change of policy will not apply to China.

As part of the policy shift, steam added two more content filtering options for users: A general Mature Content filter and an Adult Only filter. But China doesn't have the latter option, which means that they don't have access to these games at all.

Chinese media speculated that Steam is restricting adult titles from Chinese gamers to avoid getting officially blocked in the country. China's government is tightening its grip on the gaming industry and repeatedly clamps down on online content that they deem inappropriate, so Steam could be trying to keep a delicate balance: Not officially blocked, but not officially banned, either.

 

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