People’s Daily , the mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party, has called for an end to “chaos” in the country’s esports industry, ahead of the 2022 Asian Games later this year which will include medal-qualifying esports events. The article said the question of whether “chaos in the esports industry can be effectively rectified has become a hot topic”, adding that “players sometimes play fake games and manipulate games, while fans fight with each other”. “If organisers choose to fool the audience by playing fake games in order to generate income through gambling, they will not only be suspected of breaking the law, but will undoubtedly deal a heavy blow to the industry,” according to the article, posted Saturday on the official WeChat official account of the People’s Daily commentary department. China’s esports ambitions dashed by new limits for young gamers “If fans are overly sought after or defend their idols for no reason, it is not good for the growth of the players themselves,” it added. Hangzhou, the capital of China’s eastern Zhejiang province, will host the 2022 Asian Games in September, becoming the third Chinese city to host the event after Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010. Last November, games’ organisers announced the inclusion of eight esports contests, including PUBG Mobile Asian Games, Arena of Valour Asian Games, Dota 2 and League of Legends . Esports made its debut as a demonstration event in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. Beijing has taken a tough stance on the country’s video games industry amid its broader crackdown on the technology sector. In August, regulators issued a new rule limiting game time for players under 18 to between 8pm and 9pm only on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and statutory holidays, making it nearly impossible to establish and train under-18 groups of players, as well as sustain a growing domestic fan base. Esports players aged 18 are already considered mature because most participants consider retiring from the industry in their early 20s. In response to the tighter game limits, some clubs dismissed players under 18 and asked them to stop training, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported last September, citing unnamed industry sources. It is uncertain whether the Chinese government will ease the rules to allow certified under-18 esports players to receive sufficient training ahead of the Asian Games. Esports training schedules can extend past midnight, as was shown in the Chinese documentary film Little Giants, which depicts 22-year-old Zeng Guohao, who gave up his table tennis career at the age of 16 to pursue a career in esports. At stake is China’s multibillion-dollar esports industry, expected to be worth 215.7 billion yuan (US$34 billion) this year, according to a November report co-published by Tencent Holding’s Guyu lab, the China Electronic Sports Association Alliance, and other organisations. In November, the esports industry took the spotlight in China’s internet community when Edward Gaming (EDG), a professional esports team based in Shanghai, was crowned 2021 League of Legends world champions after a five-game thriller that saw it defeat last year’s champion, South Korea’s DWG Kia.