Chinese games seek to spur youth interest in Party congress

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Learning about China’s 19th National Congress report can be fun! Just ask Yuan Hong, a young man from Shandong Province, who recently won a ticket to travel aboard the Science, a scientific research sea vessel that will explore the Pacific Ocean.

Yuan won the chance to join the exclusive excursion simply by playing a new mobile game based on the report delivered by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, during the Party’s 19th National Congress.

It is the first such game in China related to the 19th National Congress. Named Journey to the East, the game designed by a news app in Shandong Province smartly combines the national congress report with achievements the country and the eastern province have made over the past five years.

“The game surprised me. It is combined perfectly with a study of Xi’s report, which is quite acceptable for us young people,” said Yuan, who works for a State-owned enterprise.


Various other forms of videos and applications emerged around the opening of the 19th National Congress in order to attract more Chinese youth. Vivid and modern, this sort of publicity has successfully lured the attention of young adults and stimulated their interest in learning about what’s happening in China and within the Party.

Zhang Xiaobo, chief designer behind the game, reveals that it has been played by over 6 million users since its emergence only two weeks ago. The majority of its users are Chinese born after 1985, as Zhang’s team later analyzed.

“This sort of learning form is appealing, but first of all they need to have interest. The large number of participants shows a growing enthusiasm among young people,” said Zhang.

While China’s younger generation born in the 1980s and 1990s are largely labeled as a generation who are mostly indifferent to politics, the fact is that more Chinese youth who are not Party members are showing greater passion in analyzing and discussing Party politics and congressional reports. These youth care very much about what China will look like in the future and how such reports will influence their life.

“The 19th National Congress plans the future of China and Chinese people’s life. It is closely related with everyone,” noted Zhang Xixian, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee.

Innovative attempts
An innovative and entertaining way to learn about the 19th National Congress report, Journey to the East has been applauded by millions of users. In the game, achievements made in China, particularly in Shandong, are turned into interesting scenes, with each scene matched with a pass (a question) to guide players to learn more about Xi’s report.

Those who win are then given the chance to win tickets to join a real-life scientific exploration team or tickets for famed scenic spots in the province.

“One can learn through playing games, and play games while studying. It stimulates young people’s enthusiasm in studying (the report),” said Yuan, adding that compared with routine publicity, this form of learning is more acceptable for Chinese youth.

Many netizens who have played the game echoed Yuan’s statement. They regard this innovative form of spreading the spirit of the 19th National Congress report as “fresh” and a “breakthrough.”

Zhang told the Global Times that designing a program to spread the spirit of the Party’s national congress was risky, because as they all understood, “politics is not quite a young people thing.”

“My colleagues born in the 1990s told me that the product needs to impress them first if we want to attract young netizens. Youngsters don’t like being spoon-fed,” said Zhang, who works for Bolt News, an app under Shandong Radio and Television.

He added that their goal was to make politics interesting enough to attract young users who are not Party members. They held more than 10 meetings before deciding on a design for the game.

Journey to the East is what they finally came up with, but at first they were less optimistic about its success, estimating at most 100,000 participants. But netizens’ enthusiasm rapidly spread, and within just two days of its debut, 1.3 million netizens had played the game.

“It was totally unexpected,” noted Zhang.

GLOBAL TIMES

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