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It looks like Pokemon Go will not be accessible in the populous country of China due to the government’s public safety and security concerns.
The augmented-reality location-based mobile game developed by Niantic skyrocketed to popularity earlier in 2016 and while the hype is not as big, it is still played worldwide. The premise is: you physically walk around your neighbourhood and catch Pokemon like you would while sitting down on your Game Boy Advance. However, controversy over the game had erupted due to a number of fatalities and accidents that have occurred around the world while players have been distracted by the game.
According to Reuters, China’s state censor, State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, reviewed the mobile game via a games panel named the China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association. They cited “a high level of responsibility to national security and the safety of people’s lives and property.” They are also going to evaluate the game’s risks, which include the “threat to geographical information security and the threat to transport and the personal safety of consumers.”
It seems that privacy issues regarding geographical location would be China’s major concern because Google services like Maps are blocked, making the game redundant as it relies on this technology to function. If Pokemon Go were to launch in China, this would mean removing the ban, therefore putting their national security at risk as their geographical data will be accessible.
In other words, China doesn’t want its citizens walking around in traffic and dying while trying to catch that Pikachu. They also don’t want people wandering onto sites that may be off-limits aka military zones. But China isn’t the first country to have the popular game banned: Iran was based on concerns similar to China. It seems like Pokemon Go has been a hit and miss with China.