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China Restricts Minors From Using Virtual Currency 142

Posted by kdawson
from the only-physical-filthy-lucre dept.
eldavojohn writes "For those under eighteen who play video games in China, life just got a little harder. Not only is gold farming illegal, but starting August 1, virtual currency platform makers are expected to put in safeties that prohibit underage players from using virtual currencies — because doing such a thing might promote 'unwholesome' behavior. The new regulations explicitly 'forbid content advocating pornography, cults, superstitions, gambling, and violence in all online games.' The business papers are picking it up as a number of stocks from companies like Tencent Holdings — which is heavily based in virtual currency in China — fell about 5%, though the company said that the ban on minors will not affect it."
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China Restricts Minors From Using Virtual Currency

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  • All the minors need to do to see that is to look at that state's example of systematically denying them access to information about how they are being oppressed.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Uh huh, yeah, sure. After all, the young rising up against the system works so well in western democracies where they have full access to information and the right to protest, so I'm sure it'll work just fine in an authoritarian state like China.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by CarpetShark (865376)

      information about how they are being oppressed.

      And yet, if it was an american parent making those decisions for their children, we might applaud them as more responsible than the average parent who lets their kid get up to anything online, unmonitored.

      Let's stop demonising one of the oldest, and traditionally if not currently most advanced civilisations in the world, OK? Yes, they make some poor decisions. Are they evil, or completely misguided compared to the western cultures where kids are running into

      • by masterzora (871343) <masterzora.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @03:49PM (#32657314) Homepage

        And yet, if it was an american parent making those decisions for their children, we might applaud them as more responsible than the average parent who lets their kid get up to anything online, unmonitored.

        There is a stark difference between a parent setting such rules for their children and a state doing it on their behalf, and to suggest otherwise is disingenuous at best.

        • Well said sir!

          Acting as a surrogate parent is never the state's business. Even if a child loses his/her real parents, the state's only responsibility is to find foster parents.

          • by Cimexus (1355033)

            Untrue. The community, or even entire State is an extension of the family in many cultures. Just because it isn't in yours doesn't mean that's true everywhere.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Lemmy Caution (8378)

          The difference between the state and the family is not so clear-cut. The family was the "first" state, and to this day, it can be seen as a "delegee" of the state, fulfilling certain expectations - and losing its privileges to act as a family if they fail to do so. We have, in the West, grown accustomed to a number of stark distinctions - between family and state, between the political and the economic, between the civil and the religious/philosophical - that do not apply in other cultures, and do not reall

          • We have, in the West, grown accustomed to a number of stark distinctions - between family and state, between the political and the economic, between the civil and the religious/philosophical - that do not apply in other cultures, and do not really stand up to deep scrutiny in our own.

            Exactly. I'm reminded of the Vietnamese finding "Uncle Ho" a much more likeable and believable pretender for the crown than the cold, Western-like South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CarpetShark (865376)

          There is a stark difference between a parent setting such rules for their children and a state doing it on their behalf

          No, you just like to imagine there's a stark difference. There's a lot of gray area and general governmental complexity, but as other commenters have explained in other ways, the distinction isn't so clear at all. What it all boils down to is that government is an extension of family values; that government is essentially expected to create the kind of society that families want their kid

          • by khallow (566160)

            No, you just like to imagine there's a stark difference.

            Time out. Let's use our brains for half a minute here. Here's the key difference. If I raise my kids in a way you don't like, then nothing happens. If I raise my kids in a way that is made illegal and I get caught, then I go to jail. That works for something things like murder. Killing my kids should be punished by the state. But using the force of the state to enforce a perceived standard of good parenting? That's a gross abuse of a great power.

        • by jandersen (462034)

          There is a stark difference between a parent setting such rules for their children and a state doing it on their behalf

          There is a difference, but I can't see that it is "stark"; I take it you are American, right? Americans tend to see government, and especially American government, as The Enemy - in many, if not most other countries, we don't. Chinese culture has always regarded the ruler (and by extension his government) as the father of the whole people - the son of Heaven and all that - and it not alien to the Chinese to expect the government to take parental responsibility. You may not feel comfortable with it, but then

    • by mqduck (232646)

      All the minors need to do to see that is to look at that state's example of systematically denying them access to information about how they are being oppressed.

      All they need to do is look at that, and...? And then they'll get ice cream? Or, and then the underage nerds of China will rise up and lead a liberal revolution? Or, and then they'll make the point to their lawmakers that they feel that the censorship is worse than what it's censoring, causing those lawmakers to resign in shame?

  • . . . where can I get some, and can I pay for it with virtual currency . . . ?

  • Predicted outcome (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So the underage will go work in factory sweatshops and the adults will become gold farmers. I'm sure that's the social outcome they were going for ... another success story of the Chinese gov't.

  • you mean like the communist party?

    • Re:cults? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mea37 (1201159) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @02:34PM (#32656384)

      Hmm... I can't find a single definition of "cult" that's more applicable to communism than to capitalism, but I suppose if you want to apply any and every label you perceive as negative to any and every belief you perceive as negative that's your prerogative.

      • haaaaaaaaa
      • by mog007 (677810)

        Doesn't chairman Mao have a huge cult of personality? It seems that in most "Communist" countries, the leader seems to generate a cult of personality: North Korea under both Kims, the USSR under Stalin, Cuba under Castro.

        Granted, you're exactly right that Communism itself is no more a cult than Capitalism.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Shakrai (717556) *

          Except that capitalism allows for self-determination.....

          • by mea37 (1201159)

            I'm not going to get into a debate about whether self-determination is possible under communism.

            Instead, I'm going to reiterate my original point: Where in the definition of cult do you see anything about self-determination?

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by Shakrai (717556) *

              From Wikipedia: The word cult pejoratively refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are reasonably considered strange. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices. The narrower, derogatory sense of the word is a product of the 20th century, especially since the 1980s, and is considered subjective, and is a result of the anti-cult movement, which uses the word in reference to groups seen as authoritarian, exploitative and possibly dangerous.

              • by Alex Belits (437) *

                So basically it's "whatever we don't like".

                Recently some supposedly officially recognized US group listed China as a "failed state" -- with pretty much the same explanation.

          • Yup.

            If you have a health problem, you are free to work or die.

            If you don't come from a wealthy family who can support you in hard times, you are free to work or starve on the streets.

            "Choice. The problem is choice." Neo

            When the program later known as the Oracle aided the Matrix by adding to its programming the power of choice, human minds connected to the Matrix were not only able to accept the artificial reality as their only reality, but feel enabled to make decisions that affected palpable changes in the

            • Communism starts out as a nice dream of fairness and eventually turns into a dictatorship.

              Nope. Read anything on, or by, Lenin or Mao (just pulling two examples out of thin air), and you'll quickly discover that the countries they conquered started off as dictatorships under a veneer of communism.

              Not saying communism can't eventually become a dictatorship, but seeing as we don't have any actual examples of such, claiming that as fact is dead wrong.
      • by Nadaka (224565)

        There is a difference between the theoretical economic system and the cabal of sycophants demanding absolute authority and unquestioning belief, reinforced by indoctrination from birth and violence in the face of confrontation. I'm not saying that capitalism doesn't itself have such a cabal (it does, but it doesn't wield quite the same degree of absolute power and authority as the CCCP), just that you are not really discussing the same thing as the grandparent.

      • Hmm... I can't find a single definition of "cult" that's more applicable to communism than to capitalism

        Hint: which -ism requires you to shoot your own people to keep them from practicing it?

        • Neither have a very good track record on that.

          • Really? Thirty million killed by Stalin alone is matched by Western capitalist democracies, how?

            • So anything less than 30M is a good track record? Capitalism has spun off plenty of wars, killing at least thousands. That's pretty bad in my POV.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                Capitalism has spun off plenty of wars, killing at least thousands.

                Sure, certain capitalist-leaning countries have committed international atrocities, and no one is trying to justify those actions.

                The point is, the capitalist countries are the ones that don't shoot their own citizens for trying to leave.

                • Re:cults? (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by icebraining (1313345) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @05:12PM (#32658390) Homepage

                  You do know that China is now extremely capitalist, right? Since Mao's demise and Xiaoping's rise to power, the shift towards capitalist economic tendencies was abrupt. This is the guy who said "We mustn't fear to adopt the advanced management methods applied in capitalist countries". China is the country that is planning on reforming the VAT and cutting billions from (privately owned) corporate taxes.

                  Capitalism != democracy.

              • by khallow (566160)
                What an idiot. You're arguing that quantity doesn't matter, even though "at least thousands" is a hell of a lot less than 30 million. Put up a fight and pull out the Congo Free State [wikipedia.org] example.
  • Yeah... you go ahead and do that China. Tighten those screws, add another barrier to people enjoying themselves. Mark my words, you're only sowing the seeds of a revolution your trying to avoid.
    • No kidding, talk about turning up the heat on the pressure cooker.

      Is this what thousands of Chinese died for?

    • Yeah this really heralds the great uprising of WoW nerds.

    • Mark my words, you're only sowing the seeds of a revolution your trying to avoid.

      Umm.. the "seed" here is the Internet. China didn't "sow" that; the DARPA did. More astute observers familiar with concepts such as cultural export as a propaganda tool might find that interesting.

      • by Dutchmaan (442553)
        If the Chinese are as "astute" as yourself, then perhaps I was mistaken to raise any sort of alarming rhetoric.
  • If they can't tax it then ban it!

  • You mean, like, Virtual Capitalism?

  • by jav1231 (539129)
    "Communist nation restricts freedom!" And that's news?
  • Twilight's Hammer is a cult (and a major player in the next expantion)

    • by Aladrin (926209)

      Right, because it didn't have any violence at all.

      Anyhow, the restrictions only apply to minors. Adults can still get all the violence and cults they crave.

    • I don't think killing cultists counts as advocating cults.

      Gold selling is actually illegal in most countries including the UK (not sure about the USA) but is largely unenforced.

      I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. Why all the nerdrage about China wanting to restrict childrens access to material that promotes pornography, cults or gambling etc? As for the online currency regulations, I also don't see a problem in games that use target kids and then use addiction in order to lure them into using their

  • There is a foolproof method that video games use to prove that the end-user is at least 18 and according to this infallible system's statistics it seems there are VERY little minors. But I will say it's odd that there are so many players whose birthday is 1992-01-01 0.o
  • What's the difference between virtual currency in the WoW sense and the pieces of paper you get with the game monopoly?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by cf18 (943501)
      You can trade WoW golds to real $.
  • I wonder how this is going to affect Gold Farming in WoW. It's a relatively known fact that the majority of Gold Farmers are in China. While this can't be proven, it's the theory I subscribe too. I also subscribe to the theory that the majority of that majority are minors, who are being paid, probably very little, to farm gold. I wonder if this ban is going to have a positive affect on the problem of gold farming? It's probably too hopeful to think so, I'm sure they'd just find ways around this law. But it'
  • by VendettaMF (629699) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @02:44PM (#32656526) Homepage

    The point is completely missed.

    This law is not being created to control "the people". It is not being made to be enforced.

    This law, as with well over half of Chinese law, has only one purpose. To ensure that no one may exist in a fully legal state within the borders of China. Seriously. You can't. It is not actually possible to complete all the legal requirements to exist as a citizen, a foreigner or a company in China without committing crimes in other areas of the countries laws. The classic example being that if you try to migrate legally from rural to urban China as a Chinese citizen it will be noted that you either illegally entered a city to visit the offices of the PSB (police dept responsible for all "person location" aspects of control) to fill in the necessary forms, or that you obtained forms illegally removed from PSB offices.

    (The equivalent for foreigners is the medical exam. You may not enter China without a full medical exam. Only medical exams performed in Chinese hospitals are legally accepted.
    (Entry with medical reports from foreign (or S.A.R.) hospitals are routinely accepted, but right there they have all the grounds they need to deport you should you ever try to (for example) take someone rich enough to own a car to court for hitting you with said car.)

    But why?
    Well, that's got two parts to it.

    The first is the same as many western states with laws prohibiting things such as "wasting police time", "loitering" and "resisting arrest". Purely so they have something to charge you with if they decide they don't like the look of your face.

    The second, closely related, is so that those in power have something to hold over people who they feel are being less than sufficiently forthcoming with the bribes.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      In California, you cannot be arrested for resisting arrest -- there has to be some other crime for which you are being arrested before they can charge you with resisting. However, if you object to anything the police do, you are generally charged with "disturbing the peace" or "obstructing a police officer".
      • by VendettaMF (629699) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @02:58PM (#32656674) Homepage

        And I'm going to take a wild guess that when an officer says "He disturbed the peace", and the bloke who happened to laugh too loudly when the police officer got shat on by a pigeon denies it, the "punk with a badge"'s word is held as truth by default?

        • ...when an officer says "He disturbed the peace" ... the "punk with a badge"'s word is held as truth ...

          No. This kind of glib attitude is exactly why there is a need to provide officers with such authority. If everyone respected a police officer's authority to uphold the law, there would be no point in providing an officer the ability to charge you with ignoring or assaulting them.

          "when an officer says..." is not something you should just throw around so casually. Police officers are expected to be truthful, unlike little children and childish adults. The law dictates that their jobs depend on being hone

          • Your English is pretty good, but clearly not your first language, so I'll cut you some slack on your mis-used vocabulary and bizarre colloquialism choices.

            Your attitude however, is sickening.

            In court the only correct response to "the police officer says" is "What evidence does the police officer offer to corroborate their claims?".

            Police officers lie, misrepresent the truth and recollect only what they think they saw (which is usually what they wanted to see) just like every other human being on the planet

            • I'd love to watch a video of you in a random police department in the USA, honestly discussing this attitude you have with the folks who work there and see if it changes your mind. I have no idea where you get the extremist notion that the average officer has something against you. Enlighten us with something other than unjustified accusations- what's caused this mistrust?

              Yeah, English isn't my primary language. I've been to places where police are actually corrupt and abusive and 'baksheesh' is the norm

              • Ok, first, your assumption that I'm American (or even in America) is incorrect. Fujian province, China.

                Second, I'm not saying all cops are dishonest thugs, though some most certainly are. Rather I'm saying that their word must be assumed to be of no more worth than anyone else's. Where a cops word is taken without other evidence over the word of the person they accuse then you have a corrupted and invalid legal system.

                Thirdly, the claim of US superiority? Having lived long term in China, Oz, England, Irelan

                • Apologies for the assumption. The post you replied to by Locke2005 specifically stated California regarding charges of "disturbing the peace" and "obstructing a police officer". So my replies did continue to imply the case of modern USA.

                  My problem is with statements such as "random authority figures" and "Police are most definitely not better than the average population", which are terribly insulting and seem to me unjustifiable. This is certainly the case in the US when you consider they not only have f

    • by Hatta (162192)

      This law, as with well over half of Chinese law, has only one purpose. To ensure that no one may exist in a fully legal state within the borders of China.

      How is that any different from any other country?

      • There are a few countries out there (small ones with governments designed to be ineffective) where it is possible to exist (for brief periods of time) in a legally guilt-free state.
        Not many, and not often, true.

        As opposed to here where a single glance at a persons face tells those in the know which set of pre-stamped arrest forms to use to tie you legally in knots while they decide whether to extract cash from you or disappear you.

        • There are a few countries out there (small ones with governments designed to be ineffective) where it is possible to exist (for brief periods of time) in a legally guilt-free state.

          Cite, please.

          I'm serious; I'm retiring soon and I'd put such countries on my list of residence options.

          • Try Ireland. It's neither easy nor automatic, but it is possible both to live in a legally innocent state, and/or through careful restitution restore yourself to such a state if you screw up.

    • I'm not sure about the medical, but when you visit China (Shanghai at least), you must register with the police or a hotel within 24 hours. Every hotel I've been to so far has scanned my passport into their system.

    • (The equivalent for foreigners is the medical exam. You may not enter China without a full medical exam. Only medical exams performed in Chinese hospitals are legally accepted. (Entry with medical reports from foreign (or S.A.R.) hospitals are routinely accepted, but right there they have all the grounds they need to deport you should you ever try to (for example) take someone rich enough to own a car to court for hitting you with said car.)

      What are you talking about? In the rather distance past, outside people should get the city permit in their local police office for visit; that rule was scrapped quite long ago as I remember. Outside people still need to get resident permit, but there is no restriction in entering the cities. (For the 'special economic zones," one can apply for the entry permit at the checkpoint.)

      Foreigners need medical exam only if they stay in China for employment. Therefore you can enter China with medical exams, like t

      • Therefore you can enter China with medical exams, like ...

        Oh... typo. I meant "Therefore you can enter China without medical exams, like ...".

      • >>In the rather distance past, outside people should get the city permit in their local police office for visit; that rule was scrapped quite long ago as I remember.

        I believe you'll find on closer inspection that "enforcement" of that rule has been scrapped for quite some time. Certainly just pre-Olympics that rule was enforced with a vengeance, emptying the hosting cities of every homeless person and "non-desirable" by means of loading them into trucks and dumping them a long way out into the country

        • Certainly just pre-Olympics that rule was enforced with a vengeance, emptying the hosting cities of every homeless person and "non-desirable"

          Correct but those people were living in the city and not just visit the city for short business and go home. Of course, strictly speaking it is hard to classify who were there for visit and who for residency. And you don't have to agree with such actions either. But nevertheless it is OK to enter the city for visits and then apply for residence permits (for which you have to find someone to hire you.)

          The problem there is that entering China on a non-working visa, and then obtaining the working visa within the country

          I actually did that too. I was the management of a start-up. I entered the country on tourist visa and later

          • >>it is OK to enter the city for visits and then apply for residence permits
            This is factually incorrect (Talking of the rural/urban travel of Chinese citizens)
            That it is not enforced (due to the need for a sub-lower-class workforce to remove garbage and the like in the cities) doesn't change the fact that if you were born in a designated rural area of China you are legally required to obtain a "visa" before entering designated urban areas, said permission being obtainable only by personal visit to PSB

    • --This law, as with well over half of Chinese law, has only one purpose. To ensure that no one may exist in a fully legal state within the borders of China. Seriously. You can't. It is not actually possible to complete all the legal requirements to exist as a citizen, a foreigner or a company in China without committing crimes in other areas of the countries laws.--

      How is this different from the US? In the state of Virginia a worker under 18 can't be allowed to use a box cutter. Did you know that? I didn't

  • Capitalism wants the opposite of communism.

    oh, wait...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Locke2005 (849178)
      Communism is a system of man's exploitation by man, whereas in Capitalism, it is the other way around!
  • by cf18 (943501)
    It's not really different from banning minors from gambling in casinos.
  • The new regulations explicitly 'forbid content advocating pornography, cults, superstitions, gambling, and violence in all online games.'

    So what's left to play with?

  • I also think that it is a good thing to prevent minors to do online transactions, particularly of "virtual currency" stuff, without some kind of monitoring or parental consent etc. This sounds perfectly reasonable.

    And to put the "unwholesome" comment into context which seems to annoy everyone, imagine a US politician saying vague words like "it is morally irresponsible to do X" or "it is to protect the rights our fathers gave us" etc. I mean, it's a speech.

    So China makes what seem a sensible law ... can s

  • "The new regulations explicitly 'forbid content advocating pornography, cults, superstitions, gambling, and violence in all online games.' "

    No guns, swords, knives, portals .....
    No minesweeper.
    No Solitaire (you can gamble on that in some casino's)
    No bubble popping.
    No reversi (Go is basic strategic battle simulation)
    No chess
    No Mahjongg

    • by izomiac (815208)
      Basically non-contact sports games (assuming they don't reference "Taiwan"). In other words, stuff that you have no reason to do virtually rather than physically. One of the main advantages of games is to the ability do things you can't or shouldn't in real life.
    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      Minesweeper does not advocate violence, quite the opposite in fact. You are attempting mark destructive devices.
      While one can gamble on solitaire, one can not do so in the game, so it does not advocate gambling. The same goes for Mahjongg.
      Bubble popping is not violent.
      Reversi and chess teach strategy, not violence or war.

      One does not have to do something even if one is able to do said thing.
      Slippery slope is a fallacy. Just because one takes one step, it does not follow that one will take any or all of the

  • I liked the part of Tencent saying that this won't affect their business. The Chinese gold sellers don't farm for gold anymore, they are simply hacking into accounts, selling off the characters' possessions and taking the gold.

  • This from a country that forbids the depiction of skeletons?

  • just like porn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by icegreentea (974342) on Tuesday June 22, 2010 @04:24PM (#32657762)
    Not like no country is the free world is evil enough to ban porn for children right? Right?

    Get a grip guys. China may do some horrible/stupid things. But this is overblowing things. We have laws preventing commercial entities from selling certain products/services to people underage in north america (and most of the industrial world). We have laws making underage possession of said entities illegal for fuck's sake, and we've all gone out and made arguments based on children's lack of education/inability to take responsibility of themselves, and then went and ahead and accepted the unfortunate coarseness of age based laws.

    So don't go out and bash the fuck out of China for this. Yes, they are controlling the Chinese children's freedom. Just like how I wasn't able to buy my own booze when I was 16. There are better things to criticize China for.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by selven (1556643)

      So don't go out and bash the fuck out of China for this. Yes, they are controlling the Chinese children's freedom. Just like how I wasn't able to buy my own booze when I was 16. There are better things to criticize China for.

      Being prevalent does not make injustice less unjust. France survives just fine with its lax alcohol policies, so allowing people to buy booze at age 16 is clearly practical. We've decided that we'd rather lose freedom than require parents to actually do their jobs, and so has China, but that doesn't make it right.

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