World of Warcraft's rough ride in the crucial Chinese market continues, with reports that the country's General Administration of Press and Publications (GAPP) has returned new operator NetEase's application to run the game and ordered it to stop taking money and account registrations.

According to the China Press and Publishing Journal (quoted by JLM Pacific Epoch, via WoW.com), GAPP said that it had only permitted NetEase to begin closed beta testing, and its decision to start charging for the game and taking new players in September was "illegal behaviour".

However, Mobinode suggests that the Chinese government itself doesn't agree with the regulator. It reports that an official from the Ministry of Culture said that GAPP's attempt to suspend WOW was "not appropriate".

Earlier this year, WOW spent two months offline in China as Blizzard switched the game's local provider from The9 to NetEase. The hiatus was officially said to be down to technical difficulties, but it took place in an atmosphere of hostility to foreign involvement in the country's huge gaming market.

One year on from its release, second expansion Wrath of the Lich King has yet to see the light of day in China due to concerns over its content. Both the original game and first expansion The Burning Crusade saw substantial delays and alterations before they could launch in the country.

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Oli Welsh

Oli Welsh

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Oli is the editor of Eurogamer.net and likes to take things one word at a time. His friends call him The European, but that's just a coincidence. He's still playing Diablo 3.

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