DIPLOMACY

People’s Daily publishes online game whose aim is to shoot Japanese war criminals

Internet users can 'learn history and cherish peace' by shooting virtual war criminals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 February, 2014, 2:03pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 March, 2014, 2:24am

The social media arm of the People's Daily has released an online game that lets players "shoot" Japanese war criminals commemorated at the Yasukuni shrine, although some weibo users call the endeavour childish.

The game, whose title translates as "Shoot the Devils", was aimed at exposing "the crimes of the Japanese invaders through the format of games and making internet users remember history … [and] cherish peace."

Its release comes as Beijing and Tokyo continue to lock horns over territorial disputes and exchange diplomatic salvos over their wartime pasts.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe angered Beijing the day after Christmas when he visited the shrine, which commemorates 2.5 million Japanese war dead, including 14 Class A war criminals from the second world war.

Atrocities committed by the Japanese during their invasion that started in Manchuria in 1931 and in the rest of the country in 1937 remain a deeply sensitive topic among Chinese.

The game is played through a web browser, and players are presented with brief descriptions of each of the 14 Class A war criminals. They choose one, whose face is then represented on a target. Players move and shoot a virtual gun by using their mouse.

The developers refused to give any figures on the number of people who had played the game, although the same group was responsible for a similar effort last month in which people "tasered" corrupt officials.

The developer's statement said 13 of the 14 criminals directly participated in or formulated policies related to the invasion of China. People's weibo declined to comment further.

Some weibo users called the game "childish". "It's exactly this kind of self-deceiving cowardly behaviour that makes Japan non-compliant and indignant", one user wrote.

Others pointed out that other countries' TV game developers had made many second world war games where allied solders shoot at enemy troops.

"This is actually really not bad," another user wrote. "After all, most of my compatriots (including myself) aren't very clear who the war criminals were."