Chinese State Media Dubs Online Gaming as ‘Spiritual Opium,’ Calls Out Tencent—But Article Was Deleted After a Few Hours
(Photo : by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images) This photo taken on May 26, 2021 shows people walking past the Tencent headquarters in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, in Guangdong province.

Chinese state-controlled media dubbed online gaming as a "spiritual opium," likening its effects on a person to addictive drugs.

It is not the first time that the Southeast Asian country has become aggressive against online gaming addiction. For instance, in 2019, the Chinese government revised the law that bans internet addiction on younger ages, restricting gamers under 18 years old to play from 10 pm to 8 am.

CNBC further reported that in 2018, Beijing went on to freeze the approval of gaming applications as the government was alarmed with the deteriorating eyesight of youngsters, which is attributed to playing games online.

Chinese State Media Dubs Online Gaming as 'Spiritual Opium'

On August 3, a newspaper affiliated with the official news agency of China, Xinhua, published a report, calling online gaming a "spiritual opium," an addicting depressant drug.

It is to note that the Xinhua-affiliated newspaper has since deleted the article, published under the investigation section of its website.

To give further context, the article stated online gaming is "a spiritual opium grows into an industry worth hundreds of billions."

The story went on to tout that online gaming has ill effects on the health of young minds, and it "cannot be denied."

The report also included data, which was cited from a recent survey, showing that about 11.7% of the 2,000 students from grades 7 to 9 spend time playing video games on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, about 26.2% from the mentioned group played at a lessened rate of two to three days.

The report also claimed that 53.9% of those who admitted to being playing video games allot time from one to two hours per day. Whereas, the other 2.3% spend more time at the rate of five hours in a single day.

Chinese State Media Singles Out Tencent

As per South China Morning Post, the state-controlled outlet, Economic Information Daily, further pointed out that Tencent, the top company in the gaming industry in the country, is to be blamed for the online gaming addiction in the region.

It is to note that Tencent is the company behind the most played game by the students from China. The top gaming title is the "Honour of Kings," which employs a MOBA gameplay inspired by the popular "League of Legends."

Read Also:China Requires Players to Use Their Real Name in Online Games as Real-Name Verification System to Be Launched by September 

Tencent's New Online Gaming Measures

After the article has gone around on the internet, the shares of Tencent, alongside NetEase, plunged at 10% and 14%, respectively.

Nevertheless, Tencent swiftly introduced new gaming restrictions, which reduce the playtime for users under 18 years old.

During non-holidays, a young gamer could only spend 90 minutes playing, while on holidays, they get to play up to 3 hours or 2 hours at minimum.

Also, the tech giant decided to ban children below 12 years old from purchasing assets on the game using money.

Elsewhere, China slapped Tencent with music licensing rights removal on top of an anti-competitive behavior fine.

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Written by Teejay Boris

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