Speaking to propaganda officials and state media representatives back in February 2016, President Xi Jinping said that media must be “surnamed Party” — that is, they must “love the Party, serve the Party and protect the Party.” In the same address, he also made clear that the Chinese Communist Party would exercise control not just over news content, the traditional focus of controls, but also over advertising and entertainment. All of these, said Xi, must be surnamed Party.
Released recently by Netease, the online videogame Wildness Action, a shoot-’em-up adventure in which you take part in training for peacekeeping operations, is the latest example of just how far propaganda messages are being extended in the Xi Jinping era. As Quartz and others have reported, the game is festooned with red banners bearing propaganda slogans from the recent 19th National Congress of the CCP.

Chinese authorities have lately had violent online games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) in their crosshairs, saying they are too violent and lacking in positive messages. This is why Netease — and there are no doubt others to follow — has infused its game with messaging more in line with that of the Party. Preparing for peacekeeping operations? A perfect alignment with China’s longstanding vision of itself as a savior of the developing world. The slogans and buzzwords of Xi Jinping? Fantastic — you can study up on the “spirit” of the 19th Congress as you shoot from the hip.
The slogan on the image at the top, posted by Quartz, reads: “Do not forget where you started, hold tight to your mission” (不忘初心 牢记使命). This is one of the key phrases introduced by Xi Jinping in recent months, conveying the idea that Party officials, and the country, must stick to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics — the utmost aspect of which, naturally, is the rule of the Chinese Communist Party.
The survival of the regime is, well, no game.

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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