In a new turn of events that shows the political reach in China, the government has removed Animal Crossing: New Horizons from stores. As you might suspect, like the rest of the world, the game has become popular with citizens of the country as a stay-at-home activity. Because if you can't leave the house to do anything in the real world, you might as well make a fake one for fun. But it appears a certain sect of the population has annoyed a part of the Chinese government with the way they choose to play the game. Which in turn, they have now been punished in the way you would assume an authoritative government might. According to Reuters, two of the biggest e-commerce websites in China, Pinduoduo and Taobao, have completely pulled the game from retail. The reason for the removal appears to be due in-part to Hong Kong protestors taking their fight to the game with their own set of online protests. For example, this Twitter post is making the rounds, showing pro-democracy Hong Kong protestors defacing in-game pixel art of Carrie Lam along with protest signs made in the game.
Since Animal Crossing: New Horizons is basically a space where people can freely protest without censorship, it has become one of the few havens for people to take to the public and demand Hong Kong's separation from the country. Especially since nothing they're doing falls within Nintendo's guidelines of safe content. So rather than try to fight them online by tracking everyone down on the servers, they've simply decided to remove the game altogether. This isn't the first time protestors have used online game servers for the purposes of Hong Kong protests, as they have done the same in Minecraft, GTA Online, PUBG, and the most public of them being Hearthstone which ended in controversy. If patterns hold true, the came could come back down the road. But for now, players should probably expect to see out online scalpers to get their hands on a copy in China for the next little while.