Phony Online Romance Sparks Real ‘Human Flesh Search’

human flesh search

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Virtual boy meets virtual girl.

Virtual boy gets his heart broken by gold-digging virtual girl, who was only faking it to win an iPad Mini.

Real-life boy seeks real-life revenge on real-life girl.

Call it the quintessential 21st century love story. It’s a scenario that apparently unfolded recently in China, where online games are huge business, and where online anonymity is essentially non-existent.

Millions of Chinese gamers inhabit fictional worlds where they mingle and date and, in many cases, earn real-world prizes from gaming companies as incentives for getting deeply immersed.

Due to China’s draconian online privacy rules, however, players can’t necessarily hide behind made-up nicknames and avatars.

anime girl

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So when a female player of the game Spicy Jianhu named Huang recently jilted a male player called Silky at the virtual altar — after feigning love long enough to earn a real iPad Mini and iPhone — enraged players launched a “human flesh search.”

Since Chinese internet users are often required to submit their real names, personal details and addresses to sign on to social networking sites, it’s relatively easy to track down the real person behind a pseudonym.

A “human flesh search” isn’t quite as gruesomely Jeffrey Dahmer-esque as it sounds. Although Huang’s real identity was indeed exposed by concerned netizens, she wasn’t legally required to return the prizes she had earned for courting Silky. Instead, she offered a feeble apology, and no human flesh was shed.

The moral of the story: if you’re going to get fake-married, try to make sure your fake-bride-to-be actually fake-loves you.

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