A Beijing lawyer has filed a suit against IO Interactive and Square Enix over the portrayal of Chinese people in Kane & Lynch 2, what he calls a “violation of Chinese people’s rights”. Liu Lin is demanding 10,000 yuan ($1584.86 USD) from the two companies for this “vicious vilifying” of the Chinese people.
According the the the Global Times, “the game is set in Shanghai, and depicts the city as a slum with shabby and sordid streets. Chinese people in the game are characterized as cowardly and timid, and a player’s objective is to kill them.” Lin states that he is protecting the rights of the Chinese by filing this suit against the Kane & Lynch 2 creators for this portrayal of the Chinese and how the country is “in ruins”.
Too bad it’s all pretty inaccurate.
The game explicitly takes place in the slums of Shanghai and provides various glimpses of the upper side of the city, so it is clearly not “in ruins”. There’s never any point in the game where you have the opportunity to kill any “cowardly and timid” Chinese unless their idea of “cowardly and timid” involves them trying their best to kill you. It’s like nobody has ever played the game.
Wang Jiahang, an associate professor of College of Journalism and Communications at China University of Political Science and Law said “Video games have become an important channel to export cultural values, and players are the audience. This game distorts the facts and may mislead its players.” Somehow, I don’t think anyone believes Kane & Lynch 2′s portrayal of crime-infest Chinese slums is how China is overall.
This is all one big show to defend China’s image, but going after a critically and commercially panned game that most people forgot exists is certainly a strange target. Perhaps they should check in with Amnesty International if they want to get a good idea about why China gets such a bad reputation around the world instead. I can guarantee Mr. Lin, Mr. Jiahang, and the Global Times that nothing in the game is anywhere nearly as bad as this. Or this. Or this. Or this. Or that whole situation with Tibet and the Dalai Lama.