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The winner of the Tudou Film Festival Award was announced today, it went to the Machinima Film 网隐战争 or War of Internet Addiction. It is a remarkable production, made entirely in the world of World of Warcraft, and took three months and 100 Chinese volunteer gamers to make. It features excellent production values and is smart and clever.

For reasons I am not able to fathom, no one has really explained the context and significance of this production. Many who follow the issue of China, the Chinese economy, and modern Chinese social studies should endeavor to understand what the “War of Internet Addiction” really reveals about modern Chinese society. The whole story is much like the Japanese film classic Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa, which highlighted the Rashomon effect, or the view that viewers to an event only see what they want to see, and will deny the validity of alternative interpretations. This denying of alternative interpretations is not only valid in China, but as we will see, also in the west.

Tem um trecho foda sobre a miopia que une o ocidente e os governantes chineses:

The Tudou award was actually a three-fingered salute from WoW players and the online community to the official Chinese government view which cannot understand the culture of World of Warcraft from the view of its players. China is run by one highly centralized organization which is not given to understanding alternative interpretations of society which do not conform to its view of reality.

The view of the majority of mainstream western observers, who only see China in terms of freedom and democracy issues are just as blinkered as the official Chinese view, as they are unable and unwilling to understand anything which does not conform to their worldview that while China has delivered a huge number of its population from poverty, continues to deny political freedoms to its own population.

In fact, western society, with the US in particular, has the same problems as modern China, except on an even larger scale. If the whole issue is all only about freedom and democracy, then why does the US have the largest number of illicit drug consumers in the world? Are they so happy that they need to escape into the world of drugs?

Western and Chinese consumer society have satisfied many material needs, but most intelligent people understand that this does not equate to happiness. The Chinese government and western consumer society are uncomfortable with the idea that many of their citizens prefer to spend their time online, in the communities of Facebook, Twitter, Stocktwits and WoW than in their own real world.

For many of us, the virtual world of online is preferable to the real world we live in, and this is why so many spend so much time online. And that is a message many governments and politicians are increasingly going to have to deal with.

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