Date
23 March 2017
Clash Royale game administrator is said to have unilaterally changed "controversial" user names of some players. Photo: YouTube
Clash Royale game administrator is said to have unilaterally changed "controversial" user names of some players. Photo: YouTube

Gaming firm accused of playing censor on behalf of China

As China seeks to assert its control and sovereignty over Hong Kong, foreign companies that wish to pursue mainland business are playing it safe.

The desire to be on the right side of Beijing can prompt firms to go to extraordinary lengths, going by a reported case involving Finland-based game developer Supercell.  

According to a post doing the rounds on social media, a Hongkonger who tried to log into Supercell’s Clash Royale online game was blocked from deploying the user name “HK IS NOT CHINA”.

The person had previously used that login ID but recently he found that the user name was changed unilaterally by the game administrator, according to a Facebook blog from a man who claims to be the game enthusiast’s friend. 

The player is said to have found that his user name had been invalidated and changed to a German name “zerfall”, which means disintegration, am730 reported.

Furious at the change, the player filed a complaint with the game administrator, who then informed the user that “HK IS NOT CHINA” was deemed to be an inappropriate name.

According to the administrator, other players and well as the firm’s Chinese staff had taken issue with the name, saying they felt offended as it goes against Chinese territorial sovereignty.

The name change should be seen as part of the firm’s efforts to stay as neutral as possible on issues regarding politics, race and gender, and not causing hurt to other people’s feelings, the administrator is reported to have informed the player.

The new name, meanwhile, was generated randomly, the administrator said.

It was suggested that players can choose names that are not controversial, such as “Hong Kong Love”, “HK is cool” or “HK is the best”.

According to a netizen, this is not the first time that Supercell has censored user names. He said he is aware of similar actions involving users of the firm’s Clash of Clans mobile game.

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TL/AC/RC

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