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Electronic Arts censors Taiwan
June 7, 2002 7:48 PM   Subscribe

Electronic Arts censors Taiwan from their FIFA 2002 PC game. What's up with that?
posted by darukaru (25 comments total)

 
I'm sure it has nothing to do with China.
posted by jjg at 7:54 PM on June 7, 2002


Sun Yat Sen is spinning in his grave.
posted by delmoi at 8:06 PM on June 7, 2002


All mention of Taiwan and its flag removed.

Well, that god they fixed that bug. It's plagued this game since it's initial release.
posted by shagoth at 9:20 PM on June 7, 2002


Nice to see that apparently everyone in the West is keen on selling the Taiwanese to the PRC for their 30 pieces of silver.
posted by clevershark at 9:23 PM on June 7, 2002


The Asian Football Confederation (affliated with FIFA) lists Taiwan as a national association, and Taiwan's official site is even linked under a pulldown at FIFA. What's weird, however, is that it's "Chinese Taipei" and not just "Taiwan."

All mention of Taiwan and its flag removed.

Sounds like someone on the dev team has something against Taiwan.
posted by hobbes at 9:31 PM on June 7, 2002


Wrote that last line, and seconds later, I realised that it could be the higher-ups forcing the dev kids to remove Taiwan. I retract that comment, but I wanna know who the hell made the decision.
posted by hobbes at 9:33 PM on June 7, 2002


Apparently there are other places that Taiwan's flag isn't allowed.
posted by dhartung at 9:40 PM on June 7, 2002


What do people have against Taiwan, it seems like all they want to do is make computer chips and participate in international sporting events?
posted by insomnyuk at 10:00 PM on June 7, 2002


Nice to see that apparently everyone in the West is keen on selling the Taiwanese to the PRC for their 30 pieces of silver.


My guess is the omission has less to do with some grand international plot and more do one's with interpretation of the term "country" or "national association." I guess EA Sports has a different one than you do. Is Puerto Rico in the game (the link was of no help)? Perhaps that might (or might not) help you to your answer. What is the answer to this video game oversight?

Censorship, please.
posted by Bag Man at 10:17 PM on June 7, 2002


I don't see Taiwan in this year's World Cup.
posted by perplexed at 11:20 PM on June 7, 2002


Yes, but the game in question is different from EA's World Cup sim.
posted by darukaru at 12:22 AM on June 8, 2002


I don't see Taiwan in this year's World Cup.

I don't think anyone from Oceania qualified. And if I'm correct, Taiwan is in the Oceania division. The Oceania qualifying is kind of weird (correct me if I'm wrong). In most divisions the countries that are in the finals automatically make the World Cup. Oceania, however, has to play the fifth place South American finalist. I think this year it was Australia vs. Uruguay.
posted by geoff. at 4:45 AM on June 8, 2002


> Nice to see that apparently everyone in the West is keen
> on selling the Taiwanese to the PRC for their 30 pieces
> of silver.

Taiwan is not a country, according to the People's Republic of China, but a rebel state within the PRC. Recognizing it as a country would, I suppose, offend the PRC like recognizing the Confederate States would have offended the United States during the US civil war.

And for the official US opinion, look here: "In China, [Republican representative Curt] Weldon restated U.S. policy that the United States recognizes one China and that Taiwan is part of China. However, the lawmaker added, any reunification between Beijing and Taipei had to be peaceful and without coercion."

Also here: "With the establishment of diplomatic relations with China on January 1, 1979, the US Government recognized the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China and acknowledged the Chinese position that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China. "

Also, Taiwan is not a UN member. It was replaced by the PRC a long time ago.

So it would be nothing strange if a game company didn't recognize Taiwan as an independent nation.
posted by pracowity at 5:25 AM on June 8, 2002


Well to be fair, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales aren't UN members, aren't independent nation-states yet they all have independent Football Associations and are in the EA game. That argument doesn't wash. If Taiwan has an independent FA, then it does seem like censorship to exclude them from a FIFA game. No?
posted by jackiemcghee at 7:03 AM on June 8, 2002


Is it really shocking for some of you that EA is kissing the People's Republic's collective ass? Don't try to read some sort of stand of principle or international policy into it, they're just following the money.
posted by norm29 at 8:24 AM on June 8, 2002


Sheesh! EA is not kissing the ass of the PRC. They are kissing the ass of FIFA, because they want to keep the lucrative licensing of the game.

FIFA may be kissing the ass of the PRC. But then as noted above not even the United States really supports Taiwanese independence (though that may be changing). The Republic of China on Taiwan has not actually declared independence; it persists in the political fiction that the government in Taipei is the legitimate representative of the whole of China, while operating sub rosa as if it is a wholly independent nation. Even Taiwanese are confused about their identity at times.

Does anyone have the game? Is it possible that they screwed up and included "Chinese Taipei" and "Taiwan", which would be a completely innocent (and dumb) screw-up warranting a technical patch, as opposed to justification for people stomping around in a moral dudgeon?
posted by dhartung at 9:15 AM on June 8, 2002


jackie said: "Well to be fair, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales aren't UN members, aren't independent nation-states yet they all have independent Football Associations and are in the EA game."

Not relevant. This is a very special case. No other country has member states in the World Cup except the UK. England, Wales, Scotland, and NI hold similar positions in the UK as, say, states do in the USA.. yet, there aren't 50 US states in the World Cup. The UK is a very special case when it comes to football (soccer).
posted by wackybrit at 9:24 AM on June 8, 2002


"According to the PRC" is the keyword here. The Taiwanese have not accepted Beijing's unilateral declaration that Taiwan was a "rogue province" part of China. Taiwan is an island off the coast of China, for those not up on geography.

Most likely this is a concession that EA had to do in order to be able to sell their products in China, or in order to have their products manufactured by political prisoners in China paid about $0.10/week.

The "official US position" means diddly. It was adopted by Nixon in order to curry favor with the PRC back in the late 60's/70's. Fact is that every administration since has had two positions on Taiwan -- the official one, and the unofficial one that the US will defend Taiwan if it is attacked by Beijing.

Unlike the PRC Taiwan has democratic elections with pro-independence and pro-Chinese parties. If the Taiwanese wanted to be part of China, they would have voted for that. About the only thing making Taiwan "a part of China" is the fact that Taiwanese are ethnically Chinese... but then if that were the standard one would have to seriously reconsider the political divisions of, say, Europe or North America.
posted by clevershark at 10:36 AM on June 8, 2002


Is it possible that they screwed up and included "Chinese Taipei" and "Taiwan"

This seems rather unlikely, since the players in the game are modeled on each team's actual players (EA says the game features "more authentic faces, hairstyles, player accessories, etc.").

However, there is another explanation. The game features "over 75 national teams" -- meaning probably 76-79 -- while the FIFA site links to 101 affiliated country sites. So there are quite a few countries missing from the game, not just Taiwan.

So it seems we have three possibilities:
(a) the tech note is worded wrong, and references to Taiwan were not actually removed, but rather changed to "Chinese Taipei", which is after all the country's official FIFA designation;
(b) EA opted not to get into the middle of a political quagmire by dropping the country from the game entirely, and therefore not having to choose a designation;
(c) PRC informed EA that EA's products would not be welcome (embargoed or highly tariffed) in China if any Taiwanese team appeared in the game regardless of designation, and EA complied. This seems to me like the least likely explanation.

In any case, preserving the FIFA license was almost certainly the highest priority.

Just out of curiosity, has China ever played Taiwan in FIFA events? Sounds like the makings of an interesting match, to say the least.
posted by jjg at 1:46 PM on June 8, 2002


The UK is a very special case when it comes to football (soccer).

Then cut them back to one...fair is fair.
posted by rushmc at 3:06 PM on June 8, 2002


However, there is another explanation. The game features "over 75 national teams" -- meaning probably 76-79 -- while the FIFA site links to 101 affiliated country sites. So there are quite a few countries missing from the game, not just Taiwan.

Why make Taiwan a "missing" country with a patch? Explanation "c" seems like a likely answer to me, though it's probably my Taiwanese origin speaking.
posted by hobbes at 7:16 PM on June 8, 2002


Electronic Arts has a division in Taiwan that sells FIFA 2002. Maybe we should wait for some actual reporting to take place on this topic before condemning the company as a communist sympathizer on the basis of a single line on a tech support page.
posted by rcade at 10:09 AM on June 9, 2002


…which is why I said 'what's up with that?' and not 'OMG BOYCOTT CAPITALIST PIGDOGS'.
posted by darukaru at 11:17 AM on June 9, 2002


PRC informed EA that EA's products would not be welcome (embargoed or highly tariffed) in China if any Taiwanese team appeared in the game regardless of designation, and EA complied. This seems to me like the least likely explanation.

This doesn't make any sense in relation to the North American version of the game. Any release in China would be different in many other ways anyway.
posted by McBain at 8:44 PM on June 9, 2002


I mailed a friend of mine at EA this morning.
His reply:

"It's not removed just re-named to the more 'PC' Chinese Taipei. If not, China may get upset. "
posted by Frasermoo at 1:28 AM on June 10, 2002


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