The Chinese government recently put new restrictions on minors playing video games, saying they could only do it legally one hour a day from Friday through Sunday, plus holidays. Not long after that the Chinese government banned what it considers “effeminate men” from being on TV. Now issues of video games and how men are portrayed have combined, and the Chinese government has banned boys’ love online games.
The decree came through the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Public Relations Department and was directed at online gaming companies. Along with banning boys’ love, it also called for a ban on “content that contain false values or illicit material.” Boys’ love is now officially considered “inferior culture,” and businesses that continue to offer BL games will be “severely punished.”
The government said it wants an “official morality” and “revolutionary culture,” and President Xi Jinping feels he should have more say in how people act in areas of education, religion, culture and business. He fears that exposure to boys’ love could cause Chinese men to be less manly.
This isn’t the first time laws passed by the Chinese government have affected otaku culture. China has strict censorship codes, as indicated when the movie Monster Hunter was banned after a pun in it by a Chinese-American actor did not go over well with the government and some audience members. The fallout caused the Demon Slayer film to have to be looked at the censors again, which delayed its release and cost its Japanese company. Actors in the video game Mr Love: Queen’s Choice also lost jobs after one of them said he considered Taiwan a country. The official position in China is that Taiwan is part of it and not its own country.
Boys’ love is a popular genre in Japan, usually made by women for women. Publishers in America who print it include Digital Manga Publishing, SuBLime, and Seven Seas Entertainment.
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.