The parents of a 13-year-old boy who killed himself after playing a computer
game for 36 hours are suing the game's licenced Chinese distributor for 100,000
yuan ($12,500), a Chinese newspaper reported on Thursday.
In 2004, Zhang Xiaoyi, from the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, jumped out
of a window of his family's 24th floor apartment after playing Warcraft at an
His parents said in a legal writ that China Cyber Port Co. Ltd.'s failure to
clearly warn of the inherent "dangers" of Warcraft -- a game produced by
American company Blizzard Entertainment -- was responsible for their son's
death, the Beijing Times reported.
"In America, Warcraft has a 'T' rating, where it's only suitable for children
over 13... but we weren't aware," the paper quoted the parents as saying.
The parents said that China Cyber Port clearly knew that the "violent" and
"bloody" content of Warcraft was unsuitable for minors.
They should have warned people about the risks of addiction and "taken
measures to prevent players' from over-indulging themselves", they said.
Apart from seeking damages, the parents demanded that packaging and materials
for all Warcraft games distributed in China refer to the game's "level of
violence" and have clear, written health warnings.
"This is a public interest case," said Zhang Chunliang, an online addiction
activist, in support of the parents.
"We are appealing to the country to build a healthy and complete game
Computer and online gaming has exploded in China in recent years, with an
estimated 13.8 million people taking part.
Amid growing concern that more and more young people are becoming hooked,
China has issued a raft of regulations aimed at curbing excessive game playing
at internet cafes and heavily fining owners that admit minors.