An ad for German game developer Bytro’s “Conflict of Nations: WW3” game has sparked controversy online by referring to the Chinese mainland as “Western Taiwan”, prompting a huge backlash from netizens, with some saying “it’s is such an ironic mistake” that could cause the company to lose the Chinese market.
The game is set in “World War III” involving military operations, politics and diplomacy. Even though local media on the island of Taiwan pointed out that the map may have been mislabeled for this advertisement, many netizens said it was hard to believe that a military strategy game could accidentally commit a such an ironic mistake.
A screenshot from the game’s advertisement shows the island of Taiwan being incorrectly labeled as an independent country. But what is even more bizarre is that the Chinese mainland is referred to as “Western Taiwan”, which has drawn public anger. However, there are more errors in this map, including the labeling of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China as “Uyghur” and the inclusion of Mongolia in parts of China.
The Global Times contacted the German game developer for comment on the controversial ad, but did not respond at press time.
“The German game developer may no longer need the Chinese market,” a user said on Twitter on Thursday, as for most netizens, such a mistake would trigger a campaign to boycott the game in the country.
“Such advertisements look like reckless attempts to try to grab the public’s attention,” one netizen said on Sina Weibo. And another netizen suggested that ads should label the United States as “East Taiwan.”
According to Taiwan Island media, the term “West Taiwan” has been used by foreign netizens to mock and irritate the Chinese government and its people, and even spawned related products like the T-shirt that wore the notorious Kyle Bass.
However, the vast majority of netizens on the mainland reject these tactics and even find these Western media and corporate antics ridiculous. As one Weibo user put it, “Although we are tired of seeing these people getting angry all the time, it only confirms the fact that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to China.”