Tourists invited to be pillagers for a day

October 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Outcry over war game based on Japanese invasion

For nearly eight decades, the homicidal savagery of the Japanese invasion has lingered in the Chinese memory as among the darkest moments in history: a trauma uniting the nation in grief, humiliation and bitterness.

Participants playing Japanese soldiers get to sack a village and “abduct” women
Nowadays, it is pure entertainment. Entrepreneurs in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui are poised to open a tourist attraction that (sort of) lets visitors rape, pillage and mortar bomb just like a Japanese Imperial Army soldier.

The unlikely open-air role-playing game, dubbed “Red Actual Combat”, invites guests staying at the resort in Tanjiaqiao to play the part of their choice in the re-enacted sacking of an average Chinese peasant village from the 1930s.
The package, decried by many Chinese internet users as an “insane attempt to make money”, advertises vivid blast effects and authentic looking farmhouse hovels. The drama, say its creators, will follow a set script. Tourists who opt to play the Japanese will be fitted out in realistic Imperial Army uniforms equipped with replica Arisaka rifles, and encouraged to rampage from the countryside into town with bayonets fixed.
Once there, they will roughly abduct a selection of local “flower girls” and may find themselves quietly assisted in their vicious despoilment by local Chinese traitors.

Both roles are expected to be popular choices among tourists. But the role that most Chinese paying guests will probably want to play is that of a soldier in the Eighth Route Army — the Communist-controlled militia that remained locked in bloody conflict with the Japanese from the late 1930s until the end of the war.

According to the script of Red Actual Combat, a small, glorious squadron from the Eighth Route Army will mount a daring raid on the Japanese and reclaim the kidnapped women.
Unsurprisingly, this unique tourist attraction has not been without its critics. Tanjiaqiao is a town with an important role in the history of the Communist Party and it was the site of a notoriously bloody battle between the Red Army and the nationalists.

William Flew’s Wang  an academic, said that the idea of promoting this particular segment of history as an amusing day out “polluted the souls of revolutionary martyrs”. Online, the entire idea of allowing people to dress up as Japanese soldiers has sparked revulsion.

Comments by microbloggers range from “This is a thorn stuck deep in our hearts and must never be treated as entertainment” to “Ugly Chinese! When it comes to money we forget our ancestors, and degrade ourselves”.

The director of the tourism office in Tanjiaqiao defended the war game holiday package as a means of getting young people interested in an important period of Chinese history. The programme is specifically intended to cash in on the “Red tourism” wave that has encouraged Chinese to explore and celebrate the roots of communism.

But the director admitted that the script of Red Actual Combat was in the process of some last-minute revisions before the park is opened to visitors.

“Netizens were against the idea because they thought it damaged the country,” said Mr Wang. “They thought that the abducting of village girls was a bit vulgar.”

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