Chinese State Press Encourages Readers to 'Shoot the Japanese Devils'

People's Daily
"Shoot the Devils," the online game

A video game launched on the "People's Daily" website reflects worsening diplomatic relations between the two Asian powers.

Chinese Internet users angered by atrocities carried out by Japanese war criminals during World War II can now blast them into oblivion in Shoot The Devils, a video game carried on the social media portal of the ruling Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, The People’s Daily.

“Japanese devil” is a common racial insult for China’s regional rivals, and the home page of the game features a buck-toothed bespectacled caricature of a Japanese soldier, a common depiction of Japanese soldiers in nationalist imagery.

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Escalating tensions between Beijing and Tokyo over what China sees as Japan’s failure to atone for war crimes during its brutal occupation of China between 1931 and 1945 have been transformed into a point-and-shoot video game on the party’s official newspaper website.

Sino-Japanese ties have long suffered over Japan’s wartime behavior, but relations have worsened in the past few years in a long-running dispute over a string of East China Sea islets that both countries claim, known as the Diaoyu in Chinese and the Senkaku in Japanese.

Tensions heightened after China declared an air defense zone in the East China Sea in November last year, and worsened again after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's December visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, which commemorates 2.5 million Japanese who fell in WWII, but also includes 14 Class-A war criminals among the deceased.

Shoot The Devils allows players to blast Japanese war criminals commemorated at the Yasukuni shrine, and is aimed at exposing “the crimes of the Japanese invaders through the format of games and making Internet users remember history.”

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On opening the game, you are presented with a list of the war criminals at the shrine, plus brief bios. You then choose a war criminal whose face is on a target that you try to shoot using your cursor.

The music accompanying the game is a popular military tune.

Japan invaded Manchuria in northeastern China in 1931 and the rest of the country in 1937, and war crimes carried out during that period are a deeply sensitive subject among Chinese.

The same game developers made a game last month that allowed webizens to taser corrupt government officials.

The game appeared on the same day as the government ratified two new national days: Sept. 3, to mark Japan’s defeat in WWII; and Dec. 13, to commemorate the victims of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, when the Japanese military went on a deadly six-week rampage in the wartime capital.