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Chinese internet users in a cafe
Chinese playing PC games in a cafe – now the 15-year ban on consoles has been lifted, these places may empty outvia bc-gb.com

China has legalised video games after a 15-year ban

Teenagers in the country can now buy a console without the fear of being arrested for it

China is a pretty strict country and despite a waning communist rule, citizens’ behaviour is monitored very closely by the government. At the turn of the millennium, China placed a ban on the sale and purchase of console video games in lieu of fears that the mental health of Chinese children would be negatively impacted and they’d waste their time gaming instead of learning. China has been making consoles for years, just not allowing its people to play, with "threatening state security, damaging the nation's glory, disturbing social order and infringing on others’ legitimate rights", all cited as reasons for the ban, as reported by the Independent.

Last year, the Chinese government suspended the ban and allowed corporate manufacturers to build and sell consoles, after inspection by the authorities. Now, China has decided to lift its video gaming ban entirely. Previously, the only platforms for people to legally play games was online or on PCs, industries reported to be worth billions of pounds, although some consoles manufactured in the country obviously found their way onto the black market. Chinese people would regularly attend internet cafes to play games online – the lift of this ban may see those places empty out.

China is likely to continue banning many video games on account of their content and is unlikely to relent in its heavy monitoring of what hits the shops. PC game Command And Conquer was banned in China because the government was unimpressed by the game’s portrayal of the country. Players were also able to bomb Tiananmen Square, the highly controversial landmark, the memory of which China is desperate to erase.

According to Sky News, "consoles manufactured in the Shanghai Free-Trade Zone will automatically be approved for sale in the rest of the country", more evidence of China’s transgression into a capitalist economy.

At least now if you’re a Chinese kid who wants to play XBox you don‘t have to worry about the police knocking round.