There are countries on this planet that continually set the bar for unfathomable conduct. We're not talking about the action of an individual or isolated group, but either the government itself or the collective actions of the population. You can attribute these actions to tradition, superstition, and/or religious beliefs; or should I just call it stupidity and ignorance? And just when you've think you've heard it all….
Prisoners in China are being forced to play World of Warcraft to amass credits which can be sold online for cold, hard cash. There is an estimated 100,000 full-time WoW players in China; many of these are not willing participants.
Players that collect credits through repetitious actions are called Gold Farmers. The trade in such credits is, at this time, both legal and lucrative. Demand is high. After a hard day at the office, you can throw a few bucks to some disheveled Chinese dissident in the comfort of your own home, knowing your character also had a productive day. It's like sending your avatar to college, the gym, daycare, and the spa, for pennies a session.
Now, before you start thinking that playing video games all day in a Chinese prison sounds like a blast, you have never played video games for a living. I have. I reviewed them for years. In no way am I comparing Cheat Code Central to a Chinese prison; that would be an insult to the penal institution of China. (Sorry, I couldn't resist that one.)
But seriously folks, not only do these prisoners have to play continually each and every day, they are abused and tortured if they don't meet their quota. This is according to Liu Dali, a former prison guard jailed in the Jixi labor camp for "illegally" petitioning his government regarding rampant corruption.
Not only would Dali have to play WoW every evening, but during the day he labored in a coal mine. He claims it's the prison guards who are forcing prisoners to play the games, forfeiting the credits for the guards' personal gain. The Chinese government may not be the directly issuing demands for these credits, but they are ultimately responsible for the treatment of their prisoners. Like they care?
The Chinese have long been at the mercy of their government. And lately they are at the mercy of the consumers of the Western world. From sweatshops that produce the hippest lines of clothing to Apple products, we consumers are oblivious, if not frighteningly indifferent, to the suffering of exploited workers in such third-world countries.
The issue is: Do you care? Do you care enough to boycott these products or games? Or does your pursuit of happiness include the mistreatment of fellow human beings? Do you have any sense of guilt or shame? I am not an activist. I'm not going to tell you what to do. I just want you to think. What do you think you will do?
Keep in mind that China is emerging as a new world superpower. Its ability to produce a plethora of inexpensive merchandise of good quality is financing that rise. That superpower, with its billion-plus population, could eventually take over the world. And one day you'll find yourself working for the Chinese, your cries for mercy falling on the deaf ears of the once-oppressed Chinese as they lounge in their air-conditioned homes playing video games powered by the human turbine you're helplessly chained to. Think about it.
Date: March 16, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*