The 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are turning more violent as protestors and the authorities continue clashing in the streets. Those who are not actively participating and even the media have been allegedly attacked. As of now, there is no clear sign of when it will stop. In fact, China has already hinted that it might get involved if the demonstrations don't stop. Now, it appears that the movement has spread to video games. Players from Hong Kong and those from mainland China are reportedly taking the fight over to the internet and these encounters are being played out in "GTA Online."
Like-minded players are apparently communicating over LIHKG (a platform similar to Reddit) to organise their attacks. Thanks to the latest Diamond Casino Heist update for "Grand Theft Auto V," users can dress up their avatars too like protesters. The items being used by these individuals include gas masks and yellow hard hats. Those interested are encouraged to join the "Stand With Hong Kong" crew.
Moreover, the group is calling the specific set of virtual clothing "Glory to Hong Kong" and instructing others over LIHKG on how to properly dress their characters. Meanwhile, those who are from the mainland are responding by gearing up their avatars as riot police along with water cannon trucks, as detailed by BBC. In true Hong Kong pro-democracy fashion, players are using petrol bombs to attack police cars. Furthermore, virtual subway stations are likewise being destroyed as well.
What's surprising about this turn of events is the fact that "Grand Theft Auto V" is one of the banned games in China. The regulatory board has determined that it is inappropriate for the Chinese public due to several questionable themes. These include sexual content, violence, and drugs. Hence, these users are allegedly using exploits to download and run the game.
According to sources who have documented the online clashes, the winning side is from mainland China. The sheer number of players overwhelmed the crew of Hong Kong protesters. "GTA Online" is not the only game that supports the pro-democracy rallies. "Liberate Hong Kong" is a virtual reality experience that permits people to step into the shoes of protesters from the comfort of their homes. Another, which was titled "The Revolution of Our Times" was quickly taken down from the Google Play Store.