Reddit Discovers ‘League of Legends’ Chinese Owner Censors Words China Doesn’t Like

Reddit Discovers ‘League of Legends’ Chinese Owner Censors Words China Doesn’t Like
Bryan Ke
October 23, 2019
Reddit users and players of “League of Legends” discovered that words such as “Uyghur,” “Tiananmen,” and “Genocide” have been censored for going against China’s current political climate.
The censoring was raised in the r/Leagueoflegends subreddit by user ResplendentShade, according to Vice.
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The Los Angeles-based development company, now owned by the Chinese company Tencent, doesn’t allow other players to use the term “Uyghur” as their status message, the user claimed in the now-deleted post.
“Try changing your status message to Uyghur. You can’t. It’s a legitimate word of a legitimate ethnic group, but Tencent-owned League is so sensitive about covering up the ongoing genocide of the Uyghur people that they won’t even let you use the word,” the Reddit user said.
The Muslim Uyghurs have beliefs and practices that are in contrast to the rest of the country. They have been subjected to surveillance, detainment and “re-education,” making them the most persecuted ethnicity in China.
Others also tested out ResplendentShade’s discovery. However, one user noted that using the plural form of the word seems to pass through while the singular form is blocked.
Peter Hansen, who also goes by the handle @daokedao1234 on Twitter, tested it out and documented what happens when you change it.
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“I logged in myself and attempted to set my user status to ‘Uyghur,’ it reset itself to being empty within a few seconds,” the Twitter user told Vice.
Hansen also tried other words in Mandarin to check if they were censored, including “Tiananmen,” “freedom” and “truth,” and results were the same.
Riot Games addressed the alleged censoring after it received attention in the community. Communications Lead for “League Of Legends” Ryan Rigney announced on Twitter that the issue has already been fixed.
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It took Riot Games five hours to respond to the controversial censoring and seven hours for them to fix the issue, Hansen said. However, only the word “Uyghur” in both English and Mandarin has been uncensored while the other words remain censored.
A Reddit thread has also been set up to list all the words that appear to be censored in “League of Legends.”
In Hansen’s test, he found out that these words were only banned on certain “League of Legends” servers, including Taiwan and the United States.
Featured Image via Flickr / (CC BY 2.0)
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