(Sorry, couldn’t decide what section of the forums this post would fit. So I am posting it here because it seems the be the most active. I will also post it on the Steam Forums)
Yes we should care of course.
So after some remarks by a FS moderator to someone,(something about being a sinophobe and tinfoil hats) in a thread about Tencent which was out of line imo. And also recently discovering, to my disappointment I must say, that Tencent actually is a majority shareholder in Fatshark.
I’d thought why not dig a little deeper to get a clearer picture about what Tencent actually is. I knew Tencent has a bad reputation in regards to censorship etc, but what I have found actually shocked me even more.
The amount of articles connecting Tencent to human rights violations I have found were quite frankly staggering, at least too many to just brush away and ignore as hearsay or something. These articles are all from different and well known news organizations and human rights groups btw, not some obscure conspiracy websites.
Look, honestly I’d really like Fatshark to be the best and most successful company they can be, so I can keep playing the games they have been making, games I have spent the most time playing then any other game I have ever played.
But I really don’t feel comfortable supporting a giant tech company that is closely connected to the CCP and that assists in suppressing free speech, and helps getting innocent people arrested who might even be tortured, and neither should anyone else if you ask me.
The whole situation has bummed me out quite a bit tbh. Basically I just want to play Darktide and now this.
Here is a small selection of the articles I have found, many of them talk about the Tencent app called Wechat. Basicly this has nothing to do with Fatshark, but it helps painting a picture of what kind of company Tencent actually is and who now as it seems owns Fatshark.
This app is pretty much integral to Chinese everyday life as it’s used as a chat app but also to pay for your rent, doctor, shopping, making use of government facilities literally almost everything.
Not using this app is really not an option, and since the CCP has banned all foreign apps Tencent could easily achieve a monopoly position. So like it or not in China you’re using this app.
I will also put in some quotes from the articles that might peak your interest, if you don’t feel like reading whole articles.
// Freedom house: The reality with tencent
“Regardless of whether Tencent is a reluctant or an eager accomplice to the Chinese government’s repressive policies, the reality is that Tencent employees can be expected to censor, monitor, and report private communications and personal data, in many cases leading to innocent people’s arrest and torture.”
// Human Rights Watch. Trapping the Diaspora
“WeChat that censor and surveil their users on its behalf and hand over user data to the government when so-called sensitive information is discovered. Authorities also directly embed cybersecurity police units in major internet companies.”
“How the chat app turned “mega-platform” has become China’s ultimate tool for authoritarianism and censorship. “
“Tencent and WeChat’s role in this topic of unease is its implementation of a system nicknamed the “Deadbeat Map.” This disturbing application will display the full name, court case number, reason they are deemed untrustworthy, and even partial home addresses of anyone with low social credit scores within a user’s 500-meter radius”
//Australian Strategic Policy institute
“The app has become the long arm of the Chinese regime, extending the PRC’s techno-authoritarian reach into the lives of its citizens and non-citizens in the diaspora”
“It’s likely WeChat’s censorship, coupled with arrests by Chinese law enforcement, had a profound impact on medical professionals’ ability to share information about the outbreak during the earliest days of the epidemic”
// Epoch Times A tool to arrest people
“so as to ensure that all departments (including QQ, Wechat, and others) are under the command of the Party Committee, transmitting the voice of the authorities, promoting the ideology of the CCP,”
“More than 300 Falun Gong students in a group chat were kidnapped and their property was confiscated. The group owner was illegally detained for more than two months.”
//Human Rights watch. Tencent and ByteDance Fueling Repression
“The Chinese companies Tencent, owner of WeChat, and ByteDance, which owns TikTok, play a significant role in facilitating and entrenching the Chinese government’s censorship, surveillance, and propaganda regime inside China. There is emerging evidence that they also have a debilitating influence on rights outside the country.”
//CNN WeChat deleting lgbt chat groups
“WeChat has deleted more than a dozen LGBT accounts run by university students, sparking fears that safe spaces for China’s sexual and gender minorities are going to shrink even further”
//BBC WeChat and the surveillance state
“This WeChat account has been suspected of spreading malicious rumours and has been temporarily blocked…"
// Taiwan news, Proving the close ties Tencent has with the CCP
“The article boasted that Tencent, China’s leading network platform, “firmly conveys the voice of the party and the government” and sings “patriotism, dedication, and harmony” as its “main online melody.”
// Yahoo Financial Indoctrination through videogames
“Tencent Holdings Ltd. is teaming up with the Chinese Communist Party apparatus to develop “patriotic” video games, edging closer to a government that’s increasingly intolerant of gaming.”
//Citizen lab two links explaining how Wechat censorship actually works, it’s a bit more technical.
There is a lot more to be found out there, and if you want it’s fairly easy to find it.
Now Fatshark isn’t responsible for what Tencent is doing with WeChat or other apps of course, and I don’t want to blame Fatshark for anything,I think they are decent people overall. But they are now owned by the same company and that concerns me because I can’t shake the feeling that I am directly supporting them and their actions by buying Fatshark Games.
And that doesn’t feel right tbh.
The fatshark homepage states : At Fatshark we do what we love most: design, develop and publish high-profile games for PC and consoles, with the passion and freedom of being independent.
The freedom to be independent part strikes me as a tad bit ironic now Tencent is owning the company but anyway…
What I’d like to know is; does Fatshark share my concerns about human rights violations and people who don’t have the freedom to be independent, does it, in theory at least, support minorities, human rights activists, political dissidents etc that Tencent is helping to silence or worse?
And what do the fans think? people have over the years become increasingly desensitized about what the CCP is actually doing. Looking the other way thinking that it’s not their problem or even that there is nothing wrong with it at all. And ofcourse there is lots of money to be made, and we can’t pass on that right?
But this way we are normalizing the ways of an authoritarian regime, and eventually this is going to have serious consequences for everybody.
And that’s why I am writing this very long post I think. I am not naive, this post won’t change a thing but ignoring it and not talking about it is certainly not going to help anyone of course.
Hopefully Fatshark will respond
Anyone who wants to respond, let’s keep it civil alright?