Shanghai to regulate role-playing murder mystery games to ensure a healthy market
Published: Nov 17, 2021 11:01 PM
Citizens in Shanghai are playing jubensha game on October 30, 2021. Photo: VCG

Citizens in Shanghai are playing jubensha game on October 30, 2021. Photo: VCG

Shanghai will launch regulations on the business of role-playing murder mystery game commonly known in Chinese as jubensha to improve market oversight and promote the industry to develop in an orderly manner. The game has become an obsession especially for Chinese youth, Shanghai authorities announced on Wednesday. 

Shanghai became the first city across the nation to enhance oversight over this industry. The Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism launched on November 9 a public consultation on the draft regulation, which will be carried out through to December 8. 

The draft regulation specifies the content that is not allowed in story scripts. 

Storylines with content "endangering national unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity, or national security" are not allowed. Content that "promotes obscenity, pornography, gambling, violence and drug-related criminal activities, or instigates crime" will be prohibited. The draft has made it clear that other content prohibited by laws and regulations will be banned.

The actors are not allowed to perform in a horrifying, cruel and violent way. Any performance depicting animal cruelty or "human physical defects" will also be banned, according to the draft regulation.

Business operators can establish a self-regulation mechanism to ensure healthy scripts are registered with the pertinent authorities. The operators will rectify those unqualified scripts until they are suit to be used. The municipal culture and tourism administration will also establish a registry of unqualified scripts.  

Shanghai has currently over 1,000 jubensha businesses which are also showcasing the trend of combining their business with other commercial activities.

Even though this kind of games meet people's diverse spiritual and cultural needs, there are also problems like the lack of original high-quality scripts, products with harmful contents, copyright infringement and potential safety dangers in business venues, according to Shanghai authorities. 

According to a survey conducted by China Youth Daily in July, 83.6 percent of the 1,543 people surveyed said that they had social communication through offline games such as escape rooms and jubensha, and 90.2 percent of them agreed that offline gaming social meeting has become a new way to socialize for young people.