Whore of the Orient branded 'racial vilification' by member of Chinese-Australian community

Chinese-Australian community member finds game's name offensive; intends to make formal complaint to Human Rights Commission.

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Upcoming third-person action game Whore of the Orient has been labelled an "attempt to disgrace Chinese culture, history, and traditions" by a member of the Chinese-Australian community, according to a report by The Age.

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The claim, from City of Monash Deputy Mayor Jieh-Yung Lo, alleges that the game, which has been at least partially funded by government body Screen New South Wales, is offensive and does a disservice to cultural relations. So much so, he believes, that he intends to make a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission, saying that the game's title constitutes racial vilification. Citing privacy laws, a spokesperson for the commission told GameSpot that it was unable to confirm whether a complaint had been lodged.

"It's the use of the word 'Orient', more even than the word 'whore', that is the issue," Lo explained. "The O-word is very similar to the N-word for African-American communities. It's a 19th-century racial-colonial conception, and it's especially painful for older people in the communities. That was a very bad time in China, and people don't want or need to have that dragged up."

"'The most shocking revelation is that [game developer] Team Bondi received A$200,000 from Screen New South Wales to develop the project," he said later in the article. "Australian institutions should be encouraged to fund projects and initiatives that cultivate mutual understanding and prosperity in the Australia-China relationship. We need to build greater trust and cultural understanding, rather than promote division and negativity."

Responding to queries from The Age, Screen NSW told the publication that its role is to fund projects, not to dictate the tone or themes tackled as part of artistic endeavours.

"Screen NSW does not proscribe subject matter to content creators, including titles, but makes its funding decisions based on the creative integrity of a project and the expertise of the funding applicants," a spokesperson said. "'Whore of the Orient' is an historical nickname for the city of Shanghai."

While Jieh-Yung Lo has called for a halt to the game's development, he also told The Age that the ideal solution "would be a change of title."

KMM Interactive Productions, the game development arm of Australian film company KMM (responsible for Mad Max and Happy Feet) purchased the game's intellectual property and asset rights in 2011 from Team Bondi, the developer responsible for L.A. Noire.

Last month, a brief video of the game showing third-person cover mechanics, melee combat, and gunplay was leaked online. The game is reportedly targeting a 2015 release.

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