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Chinese game lets players shoot Japanese war criminals

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A new video game published by an official Chinese news agency today consists of a shooting gallery with Japanese war criminals for targets, reports the New York Times' Sinosphere blog.

The browser-based title is called Shoot the Devils ("Japanese devil" is a derogatory term in the Chinese vernacular), and according to Sinosphere, it features an "offensive caricature" of Japanese soldiers. The targets in the game are meant to represent 14 soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army who were convicted of Class A war crimes after World War II — soldiers whose service and memory are immortalized in the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, as the game notes.

Shoot the Devils is available on People's Daily Online Weibo, a blog for the People's Daily, which is run by the ruling Communist Party of China. The news organization released the game on the same day that the Chinese government announced two new national days: Sept. 3, the date of Japan's formal surrender in World War II, and Dec. 13, a day to remember the victims of the Nanjing Massacre in 1937 during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

People's Daily created Shoot the Devils in an effort to "expose the war crimes of the Japanese invaders" and give Chinese people a way to "forever remember history" through a video game, the organization said in a People's Daily article, according to Sinosphere.

This isn't the first time China and Japan's ongoing hostilities have provided fodder for a video game. Last summer, the People's Liberation Army — the military of the nation's Communist Party — worked with a game developer to create Glorious Mission Online, a first-person shooter in which players could fight for control of the disputed Diaoyu Islands.