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Title: Escaping the world : a Chinese perspective on virtual worlds
Authors: Herold, DK 
Issue Date: Sep-2012
Source: Journal of virtual worlds research, Sept. 2012, v. 5, no. 2, p.1-16
Abstract: Virtual worlds and 'the Internet' in general are highly popular in the People's Republic of China. This article will argue, though, that in contrast to non-Chinese perceptions of virtual worlds and the Internet, Chinese users tend to see virtual worlds as wholly separate from their offline existence and identity.
Based on the authors research experience with the Chinese Internet, and his years of teaching Chinese students in the 3D online world Second Life, the paper will demonstrate that Chinese usage frames virtual worlds (and the Internet in general) as spaces, in which it is permissible to rebel against authority, where users receive validation and approval from their peers, and where they can escape their often stressful and boring lives. The low costs involved, and the high entertainment value of virtual worlds, combined with a perception of virtual worlds as 'gaming', 'consequence-less' and 'not serious' spaces, contributes to the high attractiveness of virtual worlds to young Chinese, which has led to a moral panic in society about the dangers of Internet or gaming 'addiction'.
The article will conclude that this framing of virtual worlds is so strong in China, in particular among young Chinese, that any attempt to utilize virtual worlds for other purposes, e.g. marketing, education, etc. will have to carefully re-frame and re-situate virtual worlds for Chinese Internet users.
Keywords: China
Virtual worlds
Publisher: University of Texas at Austin, Department of Radio, TV & Film
Journal: Journal of virtual worlds research 
ISSN: 1941-8477
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License <>.
The JVWR is an academic journal. As such, it is dedicated to the open exchange of information. For this reason, JVWR is freely available to individuals and institutions. Copies of this journal or articles in this journal may be distributed for research or educational purposes only free of charge and without permission. However, the JVWR does not grant permission for use of any content in advertisements or advertising supplements or in any manner that would imply an endorsement of any product or service. All uses beyond research or educational purposes require the written permission of the JVWR. Authors who publish in the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research will release their articles under the Creative Commons Attribution No Derivative Works 3.0 United States (cc-by-nd) license. The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is funded by its sponsors and contributions from readers.
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