China’s Curbs on Videogames, Celebrity Fandom Seek to Make Kids Tougher

SINGAPORE—Under President Xi Jinping, China’s Communist Party has moved to aggressively reassert control over the economy, going after some of the country’s largest private enterprises in a drive to dial back what it sees as the capitalist excesses of a previous era.

Now, the party, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding this year, is making it increasingly clear that it intends to insert itself into the private lives of Chinese citizens to an extent not seen in decades.

This week, party officials unveiled tough new limits on the amount of time Chinese young people can spend playing online games. The restrictions come amid a crackdown on pop culture icons and follow moves to sharply limit after-school tutoring.

Taken together, these moves represent a shift in the social contract that existed under Mr. Xi’s two immediate predecessors, in which the party expanded personal freedoms in exchange for acquiescence to the party’s monopoly on politics.

The party says its aim is to more actively shape the next generation of Chinese people.

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