Mobile games gain huge popularity with Chinese soldiers, arousing controversy

Updated 2017-06-08 08:54:57 Global Times

Military experts warned on Wednesday that spies may steal important military information of China by planting virus in mobile games, following the huge popularity of these games among the rank and file of military personnel.

Mobile games became hugely popular among troops soon after the Chinese military lifted its ban on mobile phones in July 2015, which allowed soldiers to play mobile games, according to the People's Liberation Army (PLA)'s flagship newspaper, the PLA Daily.

A survey of 200 soldiers conducted by the PLA Daily in May showed that 95.5 percent had previously played mobile games and 86 percent were regular players.

The huge popularity of these games has also created controversies and raised concerns. An army engineer was demoted to a lower position after he missed an important phone call because he was distracted by a mobile game, but in another case, an instructor in an air force brigade helped a soldier overcome his social anxiety by becoming his teammate in a mobile game. In that brigade, 64 percent of the soldiers said that the advantages of mobile games outweighed their disadvantages.

Li Daguang, a professor at the National Defense University of the PLA, told the Global Times on Wednesday that as members of the society, soldiers should have access to the Internet and mobile phones, but they should always maintain vigilance whenever they play games.

"Mobile games should be banned in sensitive military areas and during important meetings, as spies may track down soldiers who are frequent game players or steal important military information by planting virus in some popular games," Li said.

However, a battleship's political commissar has called on the military to rationally guide soldiers' use of mobile games rather than simply banning them.

"Young people rely on mobile games for socializing and entertaining. Soldiers can play as hard as they work once the military steps up its rational guidance on playing mobile games," said Chen Haibo, political commissar of missile-guided destroyer Lanzhou, the PLA Daily reported Wednesday.

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