New Chinese Video Game Lets Players Attack Hong Kong Protestors

Where gaming meets protest movements and governmental attempts to suppress them

Video game
A browser-based video game is the latest front in the fight over democracy in Hong Kong.

Readers of George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four might remember the concept of the “Two Minutes Hate” that features prominently in the totalitarian society depicted within the book. Orwell’s description is one that taps into some of the ugliest aspects of mass psychology:

The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic.

Unpleasant, right? Now imagine that sensation, but as a video game. Actually, you don’t have to. The New York Post reports that a new video game has surfaced in China that’s more Orwellian than Orwell could have imagined. In it, “players can assault pro-democracy protesters and grotesque caricatures of known activists with weapons like bats and shoes by repeatedly tapping on them,” writes Adam Schrader. 

The game’s title? The Post has it translated as “Everybody Hit the Traitors,” while Vice’s report on the game translates it as “Fight the Traitors Together.” Either way, you get the general idea. 

Who created the game is currently a mystery. The South China Morning Post writes that coverage of it in state-sponsored media within China has been glowing — though that may be deceiving.

It’s not currently known who created the game, but it’s been reported by the state-owned tabloid Global Times, which claims the game is popular on Chinese social media. But searches show the game is barely mentioned on mainstream social media platforms WeChat, Weibo and Zhihu.

Elsewhere, Gizmodo reported yesterday that a number of pro-democracy games emerging from Hong Kong have been having difficulty getting approval to go live on the gaming platform Steam. Normally, political controversies around video games don’t end up having a huge impact. In this case, however, the stakes are incredibly high. 

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