China's youth react to gaming curbs with anguish and cunning


This file photo taken on Aug 11 shows a man wearing a face mask using his mobile phone in front of an advertising board in Beijing. State media reports have singled out gaming, with one article calling it 'spiritual opium' and another advocating an end to tax breaks for the sector. — AFP

BEIJING: It is Zhang Yuchen's last summer break before high school, but events have taken an unwelcome turn – the 14-year-old's game time has been decimated as China's tech firms try to dispel accusations that they are selling "spiritual opium" to the country's youth.

An edict by gaming giant Tencent means players under 12 can no longer make in-game purchases in multiplayer battle smash-hit Honor of Kings, while under-18s are locked out after two hours during holidays and one hour on school nights.

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