The Chinese army's addiction to online game Honour of Kings could hamper their ability to fight, China's military mouthpiece said on Sunday.
"The game has already infiltrated... the daily lives of some soldiers and officers, affecting [their] physical and psychological health on a certain level," the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported citing an article published in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Daily.
"Over-addiction to mobile phone games is gradually harming the physical and psychological health of soldiers and officers. It even poses a threat to security management and could undermine combat capability," the article added.
This comes three days after Chinese experts warned of a "small-scale military operation to expel Indian troops within two weeks" in the Doklam region of Sikkim, which has been witnessing a military standoff for over 50 days now.
"The series of remarks from the Chinese side within a 24-hour period sends a signal to India that there is no way China will tolerate the Indian troops' incursion into Chinese territory for too long. If India refuses to withdraw, China may conduct a small-scale military operation within two weeks," Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted as saying by Global Times.
He added that the military operation would aim to seize or expel Indian personnel who had illegally entered into Chinese territory. "The Chinese side will inform the Indian Foreign Ministry before its operation," Zhiyong said.
Addiction to Honour of Kings and other video games among soldiers of the PLA began last year when they were permitted to carry smartphones in their barracks. According to the military newspaper, "not a small number of soldiers and officers have become addicted to Honour of Kings."
The newspaper also quoted officers as saying that entire platoons of soldiers would do nothing but play Honour of Kings on their cell phones in their barracks on weekends. "The security threat cannot be ignored if a soldier has been suddenly called into real-life combat and yet his mind continues to linger in the game he was just playing," the article said.
The article also expressed concern over the impact of these online games on the health of the soldiers. Reduced immunity levels and strength and a tendency to become more emotional were cited as some of the effects on their health.
The article in China's military mouthpiece urged the PLA to enhance the lifestyle of the soldiers and also broaden their horizons to take up different hobbies instead of over-indulging in online games.
Described as a "poison" and "drug" for teenagers by Chinese newspaper People's Daily, Honour of Kings is a fantasy role-playing game based on Chinese historical characters. Developed by gaming and social media giant Tencent, Honour of Kings has become the most popular game in the world with 200 million registered players and 80 million active daily users.
This comes almost 10 days after Chinese President Xi Jinping told the armed forces that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was capable of defeating "all invading enemies" to protect the country's sovereignty. He made the remarks while inspecting a massive military parade at the Zhurihe combat training base in Inner Mongolia to mark the 90th anniversary of the Chinese army.