China will reportedly ban video games that do not promote "correct values" and "accurate understanding" of the country's history and culture, a leaked internal document shows.
That includes a ban on any portrayal of "effeminate males", the promotion of same-sex relationships, and the showing of characters who have no "clear gender".
The leaked document comes from a recent training session organised by China's state-backed gaming association.
It addresses Beijing's new plans to regulate the industry while advising game developers on how to produce content that can be approved for sale in the future.
The document was reviewed by the South China Morning Post and confirmed by several people familiar with the situation.
According to the memo, which was developed to help video game makers understand China's new approach to future releases, developers are instructed to treat video gaming as a new form of art, one that is no longer apolitical "pure entertainment".
"If regulators can't tell the character's gender immediately, the setting of the characters could be considered problematic and red flags will be raised," the memo says.
Similarly, male characters who wear female clothing could also be pose a problem for regulators.
The crackdown on the video game industry goes beyond social issues related to gender identity or sexual orientation, according to the memo.
Beijing says video game plots should not "have blurred moral boundaries", and players should not be given a choice of being good or evil.
Games that "distort facts or deliberately provoke controversy" will also receive scrutiny from regulators. Equally, "historical figures with established narratives must not be refashioned".
In August, Beijing passed a new law limiting the number of hours children are allowed to play video games per week.
Australian Associated Press