Combat with core values: a screen grab from Glorious Mission, a video game whose development was scripted by propaganda officials and supervised by the People's Liberation Army.
CHINA'S Communist Party has a new weapon in its battle to win the hearts and minds of teenagers: online games.
For years Beijing attacked internet gaming as ''electronic heroin'' that would enslave its youth and rot their minds. Consoles such as the PlayStation and the Xbox remain officially banned from sale.
But the army of 120 million Chinese online gamers has proven too large to ignore. Later this year, the latest in a series of ideologically correct games hits the market.
Glorious Mission has been carefully scripted by seven propaganda officials and overseen by the People's Liberation Army. It aims to instil ''the core values'' of the military in its players as they carry out combat missions.
Over the past few years, the party has funnelled millions of dollars into game companies to create games embedded with propaganda. ''Online games can now teach people history and culture in China,'' the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the party, noted.
But Shanghai game developer Liu Yang said: ''The problem is that the propaganda-related themes are not intrinsically popular with players and tend to push them away.''