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The great Panda debate

Amanda Dean

On Wednesday, March 5 we asked readers what races they would like to have added into the game. Pandarens seemed to be the most desired playable race along, with Worgen, Goblins, Murlocs, Furbolgs, and Naga. It was fun to dream of new races and places, but the rebuttals for why different races wouldn't work were equally as interesting.

In the comments Censorman said, "I've heard China won't allow Pandas to be killed in games." Fanryn responded that "no one has ever found any reference of an actual Chinese law that forbids 'depictions of violence against pandas.'" I decided to investigate and see what I could come with for a reliable resolution to this debate.

I must admit that I also found no law specifically prohibiting violence against pandas in the virtual world. However an entry in China View and several other online publications pointed to proposed legislation in Chendgdu China that would curb exploitative panda imagery. The legislation was prompted by Zhao Bandi's presentation of suggestive panda-inspired stylings made waves during China's fashion week.

The article was dated November 23, 2007, and claims to have confirmed the proposed legislation with the Chengdu Municipal Committee of the National People's Congress, in west 's Sichuan province. The China View article quoted Zhu Shang, an official with the Chengdu Forestry Bureau in saying, "Zhao's commercial stunt has prompted us to accelerate the drafting of the legislation, but regulating commercial activities abusive to the pandas' image is not the only concern." The draft of the legislation began in June 2007.

So it looks like both posters are correct. There is no specific, Chinese law banning killing pandas in video games. In the future there be some official legislation that limits the use of panda imagery in video games in the Sichuan province of China. Does that necessarily mean that Panderns are completely out of the question?

Baluki suggested that Panderens could be added to the game but disabled in Chinese copies of the game. Currently in Chinese copies of the game the Undead models do not have exposed bones. The difference between these two examples is that the graphic for bones or no bones is purely cosmetic and does not have a major impact on the game. Disabling or enabling Pandaren characters would probably have major implications for the game. Possibly if Pandaren were replaced with another race such as Naga in Chinese versions of the World of Warcraft, it may work.

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