China's Spin Doctors Have a New Tool — Combat Video Games
Communist Party officials have spent years attempting to pull the plug on internet games they claim are destroying the minds of China's young people.
The government has banned the sale of PlayStation and Xbox consoles, theTelegraph reported.
In July 2009, China's Ministry of Culture banned online games featuring characters from the Mafia or street gangs, according to The New York Times. At the time, the ministry explained that the games "embody antisocial behavior like killing, beating, looting and raping," and their existence "gravely threatens and distorts the social order and moral standards, easily putting young people under harmful influence."
But now the Communist Party is trying a new way to reach teenagers — by getting into the online gaming business itself.
(Read More: China Video Game Market Poses Risks: Activision CEO)
The party is planning to release "Glorious Mission," an online combat game designed to impart "the core values" of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to Chinese players, later this year.
According to the Telegraph: "Glorious Mission has been carefully scripted by seven propaganda officials and overseen by the People's Liberation Army."
GlobalPost Hong Kong correspondent Benjamin Carlson says there are underlying concerns at play.
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"Computer game addiction is a recognized, real social blight in China. You'll see dozens of teens playing games in darkened rooms in internet cafes everywhere. For years, the Chinese government has tried to tamp down on violent games," Carlson said.
"This new, propaganda-filled game shows that they're not actually concerned, as long as the message is in line with what the government wants.
"The fact that the game glorifies PLA soldiers at a time of heightened military readiness for China doesn't hurt, either."