Pokemon Go Unavailable in China Because Life Isn't Fair

By Bridget O'Donnell, July 11, 2016

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UPDATE (July 11, 2016 at 12.13pm CST): Many are reporting that Pokemon Go is now available in China without a VPN. Users will still have to initially login to the app with a Google Account. The app is also apparently live in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

UPDATE #2 (July 11, 2016 at 1.09pm CST): And it appears to be down again.

Pokemon Go has officially launched, causing a pandemic of sore legs due to accidental exercise and sudden, unexpected interactions between strangers. (It's also led to armed muggings in the US, but that's a whole different story).

But as most things go when it comes to Chinese Internet, the app doesn't appear to work for users throughout much of the Mainland as China successfully repels "Japanese invasion by Pocket Monsters" (h/t @patrick_lozada).

For one, the app requires login via a Google account — which is impossible without a VPN. And even with VPNs turned on, many users have reported being unable to get past the login screen.

Pokemon Go Login screen

Some have been able to get past the login prompt, only to find buggy maps and cities completely devoid of Pokemon.

Pokemon Go Unavailable in China Because Life Isn't Fair

Pokemon Go Unavailable in China Because Life Isn't Fair

Pokemon Go Unavailable in China Because Life Isn't Fair

Empty Pokemon Screen
Lies, Professor Willow. Lies.

Users took to Weibo to vent their frustrations. "I just want to play Pokemon Go, but it doesn't work [crying emoji x 3]" one commented.

"Pokemon Go won't work, it's locked," wrote another. "I just want to play (/ ≧ ▽ ≦) / ~ ┴┴ [Ed note: that's a table flipping emoji]. I don't know when there will be a solution."

"I just want to be thin," another complained.

The crying emoji
The crying emoticons are in full force.

Redditors were equally devastated. Wrote user tikitiger:

"Pokemon Go does not work in China. You need to jump the Firewell with VPN, and once you do, the whole area's a ghost town, no pokestops, no gyms, not even a Zubat... Can't help but to blame one thing: Communism"

"Can confirm it's not working here," user sluchie88 commented. "Can also confirm that my soul hurts."

Monkeyfeng added: "If pokemon existed in China, they would have been eaten and died by pollution by now. RIP."

Rumor has it that Tencent has been approached to work on a version for China. In the meantime, we'll just have to sit back and watch in envy while everyone else catches 'em all.

[Images via Weibo, @KillMarvel, @emichuang]

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