'Blue whale game' copycats emerge in China
By Fu Jianshu

2017-05-12 20:54 GMT+8

2km to Beijing

The "Blue Whale game", an online suicide challenge, has so far been linked to 130 deaths around the world.
The game, which began on Russian social network Vkontakte, encourages youngsters to kill themselves after participating in increasingly extreme daily tasks over 50 days. The tasks include self-harming, watching horror movies and waking up at unusual hours.
On the 50th day, the player is told to commit suicide.
The Blue Whale creator, 21-year-old Russian Philipp Budeikin, was charged on Tuesday with inciting at least 16 schoolgirls to commit suicide.
Blue Whale game creator Philip Budeikin. /VK Photo
Chinese authorities are already cooperating with Internet companies to ban the game and copycat groups, and are warning parents about the game. 
However, there are some similar groups in China with more positive missions -- such as lost weight. They require participants to perform daily tasks, such as waking up at 04:20, but suicide is not on the agenda. The game rules are supervised by other group members.
Screenshot of Chinese online groups
These groups have a strict supervision mechanism, and members are observed collectively. The intent of these groups is often good, although any form of collective to individual oppression can easily go wrong.