Willing to do anything to win a debate on a video game forum, a user shared military secrets from the Chinese army.
Willing to do anything to win a debate on a video game’s official forum, including the disclosure of classified documents of the Chinese army. We are on the War Thunder forum , a popular combat simulation video game with war vehicles: ships, fighters and of course tanks .
Two players were arguing heatedly about which faction was the strongest in the game. One user was trying to prove that US tanks were better equipped than Chinese ones and the other supported the opposite view – arguing that the developers should have improved the in-game stats of China’s armored vehicles to make them stronger. The discussion went on for a long time, until one of the two users pulled the ace out of his sleeve: a dossier on the ammunition used by some Chinese armored vehicles, the DTC10-125 tungsten penetrator bullets. The material included an extremely detailed report on their penetration capacity and some diagrams. Documents that did not come from Wikipedia, but from the archive of classified documents of the People’s Liberation Army of China .
How they got into the user’s hands is unclear. War Thunder is a niche game, but it is very popular with military vehicle enthusiasts, and its community famously includes several members of the military, some of them still in service.
Nor is it the first time that a War Thunder forum user has posted classified documents online in an attempt to win an argument against another enthusiast. It had already happened a year ago, when another user shared some classified dossiers on the Challenger 2 , a tank used by the UK military. Since it is extremely unlikely that a civilian – but also a private individual – would have access to that type of information, at the time many assumed that the user in question was an officer of the Royal Tank Regiment . A thesis, the latter, which was also shared by the UK Defense Journal.
We have received confirmation that these documents are still classified. By deciding to disclose them repeatedly, you have violated the Official Secrets Act , as furthermore made clear by the notice contained on the cover of the document. Violation of the Official Secrets Act carries a maximum prison term of 14 years. You are aware of this: when you entered service in the armed forces you declared that you understood the consequences of such an action.
the forum moderators had written after banning the user in question.
Only a few months later another user had leaked other confidential information, this time about a French army tank. Military secrets have been revealed on the game’s forum on at least seven different occasions.
Our community managers immediately banned the user, also deleting all his posts. Information on that specific type of bullet is still classified in China. Posting classified information on any vehicle, from any nation, on the War Thunder forum is obviously prohibited. The game developer refuses to use this kind of material in his games
added a spokesperson for Gaijin Entertainment in reference to the latest incident.