China’s Gaming Industry to Suspend For One Day to Mourn Lives Lost in COVID-19 Pandemic

On April 3, China’s State Council declared that the country would recognize Saturday, April 4, as a day of mourning for those who sacrificed and died in the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to the official announcement, all Chinese citizens would mourn in three minutes of silence at 10 a.m., during which air defense warning vehicles’ horns would blast out across the country.

All Chinese flags would be flown at half-mast in the country, as well as at overseas embassies. In addition, all public entertainment would be canceled for the day.

Due to the pandemic, entertainment such as sports venues, gyms, music concerts, cinemas, and KTVs still haven’t opened yet in China. After the Council’s decision was announced, two major Chinese game publishers, Tencent and NetEase, announced that they would shut down all their gaming product services for the China region, including Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau, starting from Saturday midnight. Meanwhile, all companies’ logos went gray as a sign of solidarity.

Later on, all Chinese game publishers followed and shut down their services, including PC, mobile, and console games and game-related services. It should be noted that video and livestreaming platforms in China also closed services, including iQIY, Douyu, and Huya. All online e-sports competitions were also suspended.

The day of mourning is also the traditional Chinese festival “Chun Ming,” the day that Chinese people would normally go back to their hometown and mourn their past family members and ancestors. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, most Chinese people would not be able to make that journey.

In May 2008, China experienced an 8.0 earthquake in the city of Wenchuan, causing 70,000 deaths and thousands of people missing. China held a period of mourning for three days in the same way.