The nationalist paper Global Times has launched an online game called "Recover the Diaoyu Islands", which takes visitors on a People's Liberation Army vessel on a mission to reassert Chinese sovereignty over the island chain also claimed by Japan.
The game, which seems to have been around for several months according to timestamps on comments, is yet another move by one of China's most popular media outlets to stoke nationalism in support of a more assertive foreign policy.
The island chain, also known as Senkaku in Japan, was handed to Japan by the US in a deal ending post-second world war administration of nearby Okinawa in 1972. Last year, the Japanese government nationalised ownership of the formerly privately owned islands. In April, China's Foreign Minsitry declared sovereignty over the islands a "core interest", putting its claims on par with those for Taiwan.
"The Chinese nation's determination to protect the Diaoyu Islands is unwavering!" the game's introduction reads. The player is then put in charge of a Chinese navy vessel that has to avoid being hit by Japanese fighter jets, destroyers, submarines and mines to reached the promised, yet uninhabitable, land.
Hitting the space bar launches what seems to be air or nuclear strikes that eliminate all on-screen Japanese enemies.
According to its own rankings, the game has been played at least six million times. A link leads to the paper's coverage of the sovereignty dispute with Japan, with headlines inlcuding "[China] not bothered by Japanese warning".
"In their zealotry to create an anti-Japanese game Global Times forgot the all-time rule of Chinese Red Games — the People's Liberation Army can not lose," the games news site Kotaku commented.