A military simulation video game designed by China's Giant Network Technology Co. in partnership with the the People's Liberation Army — the military arm of the Communist Party of China — allows Chinese soldiers to fight Japanese troops and defend the much-disputed ownership of the Diaoyu Islands, the Washington Post reports.
Glorious Mission Online — a first-person shooter described as China's Call of Duty equivalent — was first released in 2011 and was originally designed to train Chinese soldiers. In an update coming soon to the game, the developers have added a level that allows players to "reclaim and defend" the Diaoyu Islands, a collection of vacant but heavily disputed islands between China and Japan.
Players fought a "flood of attacks from Japanese invaders" in a 1937-themed map.
The addition of the level adds fuel to an already heated dispute between the two countries. The Diaoyu Islands (also known as the Senkaku islands in Japan) are a group of uninhabited islands controlled by Japan in the East China Sea. However, Japan's sovereignty over the islands has been disputed by China, which claims that it discovered and controlled the islands from the 14th century. Japan controlled the islands from 1895 until its surrender at the end of World War II, at which point control was in the hands of the U.S. In 1972, the islands reverted to Japanese control under the Okinawa Reversion Treaty between the U.S. and Japan.
The update that contains the level will be released on Aug. 1. According to the South China Morning Post, players will be able to fight against Japanese opponents on island maps, use new weapons and outfits and also fly in the Liaoning — the first aircraft carrier commissioned for the People's Liberation Army. In a press release (in Chinese) from the game's official website, the developers say that "players will fight side by side with the People's Liberation Army and use their weapons to tell the Japanese that 'Japan must return our stolen territory!'" The 'Defend Diaoyu Islands' scenario, as the map is called, is also listed as a highlight of the update.
The South China Morning Post reports that Glorious Mission Online was originally sponsored by the People's Liberation Army as a virtual simulator to train soldiers. 'Defend Diaoyu Islands' is not the first level to feature anti-Japan sentiments. In an earlier update called 'The Chinese Dream,' players fought a "flood of attacks from Japanese invaders" in a 1937-themed map.