Google is the latest U.S. company caving into China’s demands for removing any content that incorporates support for pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong.
Reuters published a series of headlines around 11 am est. Tuesday, that details how Google removed a role-playing mobile app game called The Revolution of Our Times from the Google Play app store, which supports and aids pro-democracy protestors.
FOUND ‘THE REVOLUTION OF OUR TIMES’ APP TO BE VIOLATING POLICY PROHIBITING DEVELOPERS FROM CAPITALIZING ON SENSITIVE EVENTS, & SUSPENDED IT – GOOGLE SPOKESMAN
ALPHABET’S GOOGLE SAYS HAS PULLED FROM APP STORE A GAME RELATED TO HONG KONG PROTESTS
GOOGLE SAYS PULLED HONG KONG GAME DUE TO POLICY THAT PROHIBITS MAKING PROFIT FROM ONGOING CONFLICTS – Reuters News
According to the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP), the game was pulled from the Google Play app store earlier this week after it went viral on Hong Kong’s Reddit-like forum. As shown in the headlines above, Google banned the game for violating the platform’s “sensitive events policy.”
The app is “a choice-based story game where the player takes on the role of a Hong Kong protester,” said HKFP.
Players of the game can purchase protective gear and weapons to battle government personnel. While playing the game, there’s a constant risk of being arrested by police, and even the chance of death, similar to what is seen in the real protests.
The developer of the game told HKFP that 80% of the game’s earnings are being diverted to a defense fund for arrested protestors.
He hopes social media can make the game go viral across the world. This would allow the app to generate enough revenue that would feed the defense fund.
The app also has a live events map that details current Hong Kong protests.
The game was only available on the app store for three days, and it was on Tuesday evening when Google Play suspended the app.
“Before suspending me, Google Play did not give any warning,” the developer told HKFP. “But I noticed that for three days after it was published, I couldn’t search for it by name on Play Store, but only access the app via the app ID.”
“So it felt strange, and I wondered whether they would eventually censor me.”
The developer isn’t sure whether the game was taken down by user complaints, or if the Chinese government forced Google to remove the game. “I only saw a handful of ‘blue-ribbons’ [pro-Beijing supporters] criticize it and rate it one star.”
An alarming trend has been developing, one where U.S. companies are caving into the demands of the Chinese government. This is because if companies lose their ability to participate in the Chinese economy — they would incur devastating losses.
China’s ban on NBA broadcasts earlier this week was a wake-up call for U.S companies who support Hong Kong protestors.