Battlefield 4's China Rising map pack is the latest attack in an ongoing cultural war that looks to mislead young people by "discrediting China's image abroad and distorting the truth," according to Chinese military newspaper Zhongguo Guofangbao.
As reported by the South China Morning Post, an editorial in the military publication writes that, in regard to the publication of China Rising, "the use of video games ... to discredit one country's image in the eyes of other countries is a new form of cultural penetration and aggression."
According to the newspaper, the game's main villain, a dissenting Chinese general, coupled with a growing overall strength of the country, will make western audiences see the Chinese as the "common enemy."
"When western countries would make war games in the past, they would settle on Russia if they needed an imaginary enemy," reads the editorial. "But in recent years, with the boosting of China's national strength, China threat theories run rampant, and foreign companies are increasingly keen to put the Sino-US conflict in their games as a gimmick to attract attention."
Zhongguo Guofangbao describes China Rising's setting as little more than window dressing. "American soldiers attack Shanghai [and] exchange fire with the People's Liberation Army," reads its description of the DLC. "Set in the year 2020, China's domestic unrest is the [game's] backdrop, and the US military must fight for peace and uncover China's conspiracies."
In the article, Ma Zhengang, vice director for the China Public Diplomacy Association, suggested that "in order to deal with western preconceptions of China...[the Chinese] need to rise up, share China's voice...[and] resist video game media that puts China in a bad light."
Sentiment's similar to those expressed in Zhongguo Guofangbao are not uncommon. Earlier this year we reported that Iranian officials see video games as a "soft war" against their culture.
China Rising is Battlefield 4's first piece of add-on content. EA has halted work on all future expansions until the issues surrounding Battlefield 4's online servers have been fixed.