The Shoot the Devils game features targets attached to images of 14 Class A Japanese war criminals.
The Shoot the Devils game features targets attached to images of 14 Class A Japanese war criminals.Reuters

The Chinese Communist Party's official People's Daily newspaper has released a controversial new online video game that invites players to shoot Japanese war criminals.

The game, called Shoot the Devils, was launched by the paper's social media division and allows players to "remember history" by shooting targets attached to images of the 14Japanese second world war criminals who are among the dead honoured by the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo.

Targets include Japan's war-time Prime Minister General Hideki Tojo, who was executed for war crimes by the US in 1948.

Patriotic military music begins as players browse through short biographies of each target, which include details about the role each figure played within the Japanese military and information about atrocities believed to have been committed against the Chinese people.

Players are awarded points based on how accurately they hit their targets and scores can then be automatically shared on various social media platforms.

The creators said the game aims to "expose war crimes of the Japanese invaders" and enable people to "cherish peace".

However, many users of the popular Chinese social media platform Weibo dismissed the game as "childish" and a "disaster for China".

The release of the game comes amid increasing tension between China and Japan, which are both engaged in a longstanding dispute over ownership of islands in the East China Sea.

In January, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit to the Yasukuni shrine - a move that was roundly criticised by officials in both Beijing and Washington.

This week, Beijing ratified a plan to create two new national holidays aimed at commemorating Japanese military aggression during the second world war.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress designated 3 September as War Against Japanese Aggression Victory Day and 13 December as a day of remembrance of the 300,000 soldiers and civilians killed by Japanese forces during the Nanjing Massacre.