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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 18:09 GMT 19:09 UK
China enjoys anti-corruption game
Chinese gamers at an internet cafe in Shanghai (file photo)
Gaming is increasingly popular among China's youth
An online game in China that allows players to eradicate corrupt officials has proved so popular its website has crashed, state media reports.

Since its launch eight days ago, the game, "Incorruptible Fighter", is reported to have been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

The game was devised by a regional government in east China to highlight the problems of corrupt officialdom.

China has been hit recently by a number of high-profile cases of corruption.

The former head of the country's food and drug watchdog was executed last month after being convicted of taking bribes.

Last week, the Communist Party's former leader in Shanghai was expelled from the party, and may now face charges, after he was linked to a pensions fund scandal that has also implicated other senior officials.

President Hu Jintao has vowed to take action against officials found guilty of corruption, which has become rampant since market reforms opened the economy in the 1980s.

'Sense of achievement'

"Incorruptible Fighter" allows players to get ahead by killing and torturing corrupt officials, while assisting the upstanding ones.

Along the way, they are led through a series of moral challenges before entering a corruption-free paradise.

Government officials should be the ones getting anti-corruption education, not local youngsters
Wang Xiongjun
Peking University

The characters in the game are based on well-known figures from Chinese history.

"We want game players to have fun but also learn about fighting corruption, folklore and history," Qiu Yi, an official in charge of the project, told the China Daily newspaper.

The paper also quoted one gamer called Sun as saying: "I feel a great sense of achievement when I punish lots of evil officials."

The game appeared to have become a victim of its own success. A note on the site on Thursday said it had crashed due to overwhelming demand.

"The game is currently under hardware and software updating as the online players have exceeded the limit of the server and the programme," the notice read.

But some are questioning the game's target audience. "Government officials should be the ones getting anti-corruption education, not local youngsters," Wang Xiongjun of Peking University told the China Daily.

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