A bizarre attempt by Chinese authorities to harness the popularity of online gaming there has left them with egg on their collective face. An anti-corruption role-playing game has collapsed under the high level of demand.

Incorruptible Fighter was launched at the end of July by the local government in East China's Zhejiang Province as part of a drive to encourage people to eschew corruption.

Torture is name of game

The game presents scenarios where players progress by torturing and killing corrupt officials and helping Honest Joes do their jobs free of graft.

In spite of the questionable methods employed in the virtual world, over 100,000 downloads of Incorruptible Fighter were recorded in the first week of operation. And the underpowered server was left a smoking wreck.

A month later and the drive to the moral high ground remains stalled, much to the undoubted embarrassment of the authorities and the disappointment of seekers of righteousness.