China’s Communist Party’s official newspaper, People’s Daily, has released a new online video game called “Kill the Devils” -- and it has been making headlines. The premise of the game is to kill various real-life Japanese war criminals, or “devils,” with a handgun.
The game allows players to choose from a list of 14 different targets to kill, all of which are cartoon depictions based on some of Japan’s most recognizable military figures from World War II. This includes General Hideki Tojo, Japan’s prime minister throughout most of the war, who was executed in 1948 by the occupying Americans for war crimes.
Upon opening the game, patriotic Army-style music begins playing as you browse the short biographies of each Japanese target, which contains information on their role with the Japanese military, including many of the atrocities that were committed against Chinese people. After selecting a target, players are given a handgun with a limited amount of bullets and are awarded points based on how accurately they hit their target.
Scores can be automatically posted and shared to various social media, like popular microblog platform Weibo, which seems to include the default message “There are 14 ‘Class A’ war criminals from World War II waiting for us, come help take down the devils!”
The game, which seems like an obvious ploy by the Communist Party to boost Chinese patriotism, is the just the latest anti-Japanese action. While it is just a game, underlying hatred and xenophobia is a reality amongst many Chinese.
Earlier this week, China announced that during next week’s annual parliamentary meeting, the government will be deciding to establish two new public holidays: one which celebrates the official surrender of Japanese forces in 1945, and the other commemorating the thousands who died at the hands of the Japanese during the Nanjing Massacre. The addition of the two holidays has many concerned that they will evolve to celebrate hatred toward Japan.
The Chinese and Japanese ambassadors to the U.K. have not helped diplomatic relations between the nations after the two likened each other to Lord Voldemort, the fictional dark lord from the Harry Potter book series, and then refusing to be interviewed by the BBC in the same room.
The two countries share a long, bloody history, the details of which are often disputed, after engaging in war several times. The issues of the past continue to resurface as present-day animosity builds over disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Diaoyu to Chinese and the Senkaku to Japanese. Many experts and analysts have predicted that the growing tension that has built off of a long history of vitriol will eventually lead to another war between the two East Asian countries.