Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

China Says Video Game Allowing Players to Shoot U.S. Troops Instills Patriotic Values

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, April 5 2013

Screenshot from CCTV report about Glorious Mission video game.

The video game Glorious Mission, designed for and by the Chinese military, was initially meant as a training aid for soldiers. Released to the public a few months ago, it has already been downloaded over a million times.The BBC reports that the video game is China's newest propaganda tool, and cites army sources who agree Glorious Mission was made "available to the wider public...in order to instill patriotic values, the core values of the military."

The BBC quoted a young man who spends more than 10 hours a week at a Shanghai Internet cafe (on the day, the reporter said almost every one of the 100 terminals was occupied with gamers): "Most of the players here are young. A military video game could make you feel familiar with and then develop an affinity for the army."

Developed by China's Giant Network Technology and supported by the People's Liberation Army, Glorious Mission was introduced to China's military trainees in 2002. It was supposedly modeled on the U.S. Army-made game America's Army. A Wired story highlights the key difference: "Where the bad guys in America's Army are generic Middle Eastern or Central Asian insurgents and terrorists, the enemy in Glorious Mission is apparently the U.S. military. A TV report offers glimpses of an American-made Apache gunship crashing in flames.


CCTV report on the popularity of Glorious Mission, a video game created by the Chinese military

However,TechinAsia watched online videos o fthe game in action — the version released to the public last year — and reports that the alleged anti-Americanism of the game was overstated. The writer also gives a thorough analysis of the quality of the game, comparing it to Call of Duty, and concludes that "Glorious Mission looks like a competent if unoriginal shooter, and for players who want to put themselves in the shoes of the PLA, it is certainly the most realistic option out there."

The Chinese Communist Party initially found video games threatening. Consoles that rapidly grew in popularity through the 1990s were officially banned in 2000 to prevent them from corrupting Chinese youth. Many Chinese gamers have found their way around the 12 year old ban (which engadget explains isn't really a ban), but government-sanctioned Glorious Mission is evidence that Chinese officials will insert themselves into the video game market in order to control it.

Whether the ban on video game consoles is lifted or not, it's hard to believe the government that censors 100 millions tweets per day blocks news media sites won't continue to control and manipulate the Chinese video game industry.

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

GO

tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

GO

Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

GO

monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

GO

More