Beijing, Feb 26 (IANS) A Taiwanese games company has had its latest release pulled from mainland China, after subtle references mocking Chinese President Xi Jinping, including comparing him to Winnie the Pooh, was noticed.
The game, called Devotion, had gone viral after players spotted so-called “easter eggs” and publicised them.
However, online discussion was censored after an “easter egg” in a hidden message or joke used the words “Xi Jinping” next to “Winnie the Pooh”, in an ancient style of writing.
Winnie the Pooh has been censored on Chinese search engines and social media since 2017, after bloggers began comparing Xi to the children’s story book and film character.
Gamers have also spotted an old newspaper in Devotion that refers to an individual, who has received a prison sentence, nicknamed “baozi” or “steamed bun”, another sensitive term in China, as social media users have used it to refer to Xi to evade government censors.
Red Candle Games released Devotion, a first-person horror game set in 1980s Taiwan, on games platform Steam on February 19. It has apologised, saying it will refund offended users, the BBC reported.
It also confirmed that Devotion was removed from Steam China on February 23, and issued the apology, saying the poster with the Winnie the Pooh reference had made it into the game by accident due to a technical issue.
Taiwanese Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai has praised the game, saying: “Only in countries with democracy and freedom can creation be free from restrictions.”
Taiwan is an island that is for all practical purposes independent, but China sees it as a rebel region and insists that other countries should not have diplomatic relations with it, the BBC report said, adding that Chen has sparred with Beijing over the island’s political future. In January, Xi said Taiwan “must and will be” reunited with China.