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Death by Online Gaming? Really?

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on September 18, 2007

According to both AP and Reuters, the Beijing News is reporting that a 30-year-old Chinese man collapsed and died over the weekend after playing online games non-stop for three days. The story doesn’t mention the man’s name. No mention, too, of the name of the cybercafé. And there’s no information about the games that this man found so gripping.

Maybe this really happened and we’re just talking about sloppy reporting by the Beijing News reporter. But the Chinese government has been on the warpath against the perils of online gaming – which the country’s Communist leaders no doubt believe puts their youth on the slippery slope toward looking at online porn, not to mention banned groups like advocates of Falun Gong or democracy. The government in July unveiled a new policy requiring online game operators to force cybercafé gamers to register with their ID card numbers, making it easier for the state to keep tabs on what users are doing. And, as the AP reported then, “[a]fter three hours, players under 18 are prompted to stop and “do suitable physical exercise.” Now, conveniently, an unnamed someone dies playing online games, further demonstrating how evil they can be. Sound suspicious to you?

Reader Comments


September 18, 2007 3:12 PM

thats not suspicious at all. As a WoW player, we already know may American players addicted in the online games and caused several tragedies. A case in hand is a couple who are fond of gaming and left their 1 year old baby un-cared and starved.


September 18, 2007 11:39 PM

What did you imply, Bruce? I think as a journalist for BW, it is not your job to raise gossips here. The cybercafe could be an illegal one that didn't bide with the law.


September 19, 2007 12:05 AM

I wonder why Businessweek is still posting comments by this Bruce. He is totally lack of depth in his articles. Just because he hates China he is digging under the carpet. What a desperate attempt this time! Press didn't report name and place so there must be something to hide?? This is absolute blind and vicious insinuation/accusation. More suspicious here is that Bruce is link to some anti-China group.


September 19, 2007 1:37 AM

You are too fond of your conspiracy theory. Trageties like this may have happened before, but they were not under spotlight until the Chinese government campaigned against on online gaming. That explains why this incident came in so "conveniently".


September 19, 2007 7:46 AM

Well the idea of someone dying from exhaustion after playing online games non-stop for days isn't so odd. I'm sure you've heard of at least a dozen similar incidents in South Korea which were widely reported throughout the world.

Knowing the Soviet style propaganda employed by the Chinese government thought, I wouldn't put it above them to plant a story or two to reinforce their campaign. As for your comment on banning online porn in China... Even when living in the USSR, I never understood the Soviet obsession with censorship of nudity and sex.


September 19, 2007 7:52 AM

it is not suspicious at all. The only thing I can say is that you have no idea about China and Chinese. If you have a chance, I would like to suggest you for visiting China before you open your mouth. Please do some research on Falun Gong.


September 19, 2007 8:42 AM

Don't write such monbo jumbo when you never been to cybercafé in China, when you never play on-line game in China, when you never talk to someone in China, and when you never live in China. If you didn't do these homework, you are not qualify to write. Please be responsible for your words. My advice for you is either stop being stupid, or move to China and live for 5 years before you say anything.


September 19, 2007 10:02 AM

I don't know what you are talking about.Do you know the differences between Falun Gong and online games.


September 19, 2007 10:05 AM

O.J was arrested for robbery. Is it suspicious??


September 19, 2007 12:18 PM


You have just broken the stupidity barrier.

I have always found your articles (along with Roberts') on china to be pitifully ignorant. Now, I know you are not just ignorant on China, you are just plain stupid.

Dying from over-gaming is a well known and a well documented phenomenon.

Of all the things that you can question about china, you choose to question the one thing that isn't worthy of suspicion.

Are you really that dumb, or are you just on the take?

Now that's suspicious.


September 19, 2007 12:41 PM

not suspicious at all. if people could possibly die from working


September 19, 2007 12:59 PM

LOL, that is pretty funny. Talk about brainwashing people. Oh well, life goes on.

Katie Leung

September 19, 2007 2:40 PM

Hmm.. Bruce needs more coffee


September 19, 2007 3:28 PM

One could say it's suspicious, but certainly this "news story" is sloppy journalism, at best, with nothing more than an eye grabbing headline.

As to the author's charge that it is suspicious that the Chinese government might have planted the story as a prelude to ban or censor online gaming. You should understand that this being THE Chinese government, it does what it wants. I don't think it would bother with such a trivial story as a propaganda prelude to banning/censoring online gaming. I would venture to say that it won't even bother. If the government wants the ban, it'll just go ahead. So what if average joes don't like it. There's no one dying or being tortured anyways, so foreign governments definitely won't bother. And there won't be any no big company jumping up an down.

Given those rationales, no I don't believe it's suspicious. I would just say, it's very incompetent journalism. That is all.

Try reading it first

September 19, 2007 10:07 PM

The Chinese government is an authoritarian, communist regime that can barely care for the 1.3 billion people living within its borders while it maximizes the labor output of their people at near slave like levels.

Planting a story like this is hardly beyond them but that was NOT the point of the article. The main point, for those who evidently failed to read it, is that the Chinese government (a brutal police state and world currency manipulator) is advancing a policy that will allow them to monitor how people are using the internet and be able to track them down should their activity collide with what they deem allowable.

Is the story suspicious? Absolutely, in light of past practices of the Chinese government and its willingness to crack down on anyone who practices free thinking and free speech. This reads like a shot across the bow warning that China now often practices since they are now in a near constant media glare and unable to simply send in their police forces to arrest subversives and enemies of the state. Bloodied citizens do not make for good trading relations but "registering" your ID number with the government is acceptable to big corporations cashing in on $1 a day employees.

I suggest some of the posters on this page visit America, or another free nation, before they back the Chinese government and, tacitly, its horrendous treatment of any group or religion that poses even the smallest threat to their autocracy.


September 19, 2007 10:49 PM

So People die playing online games in China ? What kind of games are they ?
BTW he died with high blood pressure or heart attack or dehydration or what ? Or just too much online gaming? Is it related to too much time infront of computer screen or too much typing or too much thinking or something new? Are chinese doctors educated to deal with this kind of syndrom? May be the medicine lies in some bamboo roots.
Although 3 days sound to be little too much of gaming..but dying from it is bit in- comprehesible. Looks like it only happens in China. You never know what will come out of China next..dying from little more talking may be..
Personaly I find it more funny than suspicious.


September 20, 2007 12:21 AM

@Ganesh, death from playing online games for days happened to in other nations, such as South Korea. I bet you don't have to worry about that in India, not with your poor infrastructures. You only have to worry of dying from malnutritions.

Xie Xie

September 20, 2007 12:08 PM


Thank you for showing us your lack of knowledge, even if you have a little bit of knowledge about biology, you could easily see that sitting in one place for 3 continuous days is not good, blood clots will form as the result of long immobility (thrombosis) and you know what happen after the blood clots .And for your information, online gaming death does not only occur in China, it occurs in the US and Korea as well. So are the US doctors educated about this syndrome ? You are not an online gamer, so you do not know, as an online gamer (I quit it) I often heard news about death on the keyboard for excessive playing. Just do some searches on google and you will see. Thanks for entertaining us with your post.And if you want people to take you seriously and have proper discussion then I suggest you to cut out the crap because so far you have shown us your lack of basic scientific knowledge and you are just making yourself look like a clown

To try to read it first.

Sure I read the article, and this is not a surprise to me since there are already a number of cases like this in countries like the States and South Korea as I said.And thank you for letting us know that every Chinese earn $1 a day. What do you call the US government when they monitor/ listen to its peoople phone calls, lie to its people about the war in Iraq ? And not so long ago, the US harassed Japan for its currency so what we call Japan back in the old days ?

And I don't see anything wrong with banning or encourage people to quit online gaming because it is very addictive (talking from my experience), it consumes a lot of time, money, it can cause frustrations as well (when the person is not winning the game). And as a developing country, China cannot afford to see its youth indulging in those type of online gaming, they could spend that time doing something useful for the country and their lives instead.

Btw I find your posts even funnier than the article itself (Ganesh and try to read).

And this is not the first time someone dies because of online gaming in China. This happened once or twice before due to the game "World of Warcraft" . Any online gamers here can tell you how addictive online games can be as a whole and World of Warcraft respectively.

Xie Xie

September 20, 2007 12:12 PM

And if anyone here is still in doubt about the effect of sitting in place for 3 continuous days then I suggest you to go and experiment it and see it for yourself.

Xie Xie

September 20, 2007 12:29 PM

And these are the few examples of the effect of online gaming to back up what I said so people do not see I am talking nonsense.

And Bruce I know you have a neutral view, you are not pro-China nor anti-China. But Can I just suggest something, before writing such things, can you please just do some research about online gaming and its effect.I know that not everything the Chinese government does is right but in this case, we cannot just look at it simply a propaganda, we have to look at it from different angles.I do not agree with the Chinese government about banning religious groups, restricting people from accessing information, but in this case even if this news is fake (only if) I still support it since it deters and keep young people from the harmful effect of online gaming.

Ganesh I hope you will read those articles I provided and then have a second thought about what you said, especially " Looks like it only happens in China"

Thank you


September 24, 2007 1:09 PM

I've spent quite a bit of time in China, and frequently visited cybercafes where young chinese would sit and play online games all day long. I would go in the morning and come back that evening to see them still there. The cybercafes typically sell cup-noodles and other instant meals for gamers. And don't get me started on gold-farmers. But my point is, these kids aren't healthy. It is reasonable for the Chinese government to try and legislate against gaming addication. But also consider, this is a public health measure that comes with no real sacrifice for the regime. If the government of China really cared about public health, they'd do something about the filth and pollution that 99% of urban Chinese live in, the poisonous rivers, and defiled soils.
My recommendation to Bruce: If you haven't been to China, go check it out. But don't stay too long lest you find yourself stricken with all sorts of maladies you never even knew existed... And I'm talking from experience on that one.

Xie Xie

September 26, 2007 3:22 AM

To Nick

FYI, the Chinese government is already working on that matter, as we can see that they already shut down hundreds old coal powered plants, coal mines, set a mandatory for offices to set their airconditioners no more than 25 degrees during the summer, pumping billions of dollars into railway service and encourgae people to use more public transport, promote and invest in renewable energy such as solar energy, hydropower. But it is the people that refuse to listen, like in the car free day, people in Beijing still drive around with their cars, refuse to use public transport, and for the airconditioner mandatory, how many offices follow the order, very few, the majority still go over the limit.

And when the government try to go renewable energy , for example hydropower with three gorges damn, people start ranting about relocation, methane gas, impact on ecology. Non renewable, a problem now renewable is also a problem, so what other energy source they should use ?

Maybe you people in the West can show the world a better way to achieve high economic growth with minimal sacrifice of the environment.


May 25, 2009 12:22 PM

"I suggest some of the posters on this page visit America, or another free nation, before they back the Chinese government"

'this person has never been to China?'.

This is my first thought on reading this challenge.

I've lived and worked in China for the last 4yrs.

I've become quite use and accustomed and more importantly 'discerning' of the CCG's propaganda methods.

Out of observation and the need to recognise it for my work here in China.

One thing the CCG isn't good at, is propaganda.

If censoring online gaming were a goal, it would be done without any kind of explanation by the CCG.

So i take his challenge up, and offer one myself... before you make pretense of speaking of the great evil of China.

Visit China and educate yourself on that which you assume yourself to be a crusader against.

One of the greatest disservices Mainland Chinese do themselves is believing their limited view from a China perspective can be applied to a world view.

Likewise... you do us in the West and the people you seem to appear to be championing for against the evil CCG a great disservice in your own ignorance.

I strongly believe you've never been to China.

Because like anyone else who has you would know to begin with, that your method of approaching the issues of China would only make things worse.

Wise up, learn up, then put up... till then shut up.

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