Over the last couple of months, the protests in Hong Kong, China have made global headlines after hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens have been actively protesting against the current government for introducing a new extradition bill. And now, the protests have made their way to Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V Online. Yes, players from Hong Kong are dressing up as protestors and actively clashing with Mainland players violently.
Hong Kong Protests in Los Santos
Rumors spread online amongst players from Hong Kong when a few gamers pointed out that they could now dress up as protesters in GTA V Online through the new update for the game that was released a couple of weeks ago. The news soon spread online through LIHKG, which is like the Chinese version of the social media platform Reddit. Once the news leaked, people started dressing up as protestors and organizing protests in the game as well. Soon, players from Mainland China also showed up and responded by dressing as riot police with water cannon trucks. That’s when the violent Hong Kong protests got played out in Los Santos as well. The news was first reported by Abacus, a Hong Kong-based news portal.
The viral Hong Kong protests sparked in June this year over the introduction of a new controversial extradition bill by the Chinese regime and have since evolved into violent mass-scale clashes and anti-government demonstrations. Gamers from Mainland China as well as Hong Kong have made the virtual city of Los Santos their battleground.
The New Update
The latest version of GTA V’s Diamond Casino Heist update that came out recently brought new clothing items to the game including yellow hard hats and gas masks that have since become the dress code for the Hong Kong protestors in the game.
The players announced on LIHKG that they’ve made a new set of clothing nicknamed Glory to Hong Kong along with a crew called Stand With Hong Kong. Protestors from this crew have been wreaking havoc in Los Santos, trashing subway stations and attacking police vehicles with petrol bombs.
The growing violence resulted in an epic fight between Hong Kong and Mainland protestors in the game, which the latter won because of their bigger numbers, according to social media discussions on Weibo.
It’s noteworthy here that GTA V isn’t even approved by Mainland Chinese authorities as it contains drugs, violence, and scenes of a sexual nature. Thus, it is banned in the country. However, users can download the game from the Steam gaming store and play it through various other loopholes on the Internet.
The Future is Here
The recent breakout of the Hong Kong protests in the fictional city of Los Santos in GTA V seems straight out of something like Steven Spielberg’s 2018 sci-fi movie Ready Player One.
Needless to say, however overrated this news may seem, it’s certainly the beginning of a new era. With VR and advanced next-gen simulation gaming on its way soon, this is probably how lots of more real-world phenomena will play out in the virtual world much as they did in ‘The Oasis’ in Ready Player One. Moreover, there’s another VR game called “Liberate Hong Kong” developed by activists for those who want to experience the protests without leaving their homes.
So far, there has been no word from Rockstar Games on the protests.