China may be cracking down on video game time for kids, but esports are still an arena of national competition and pride. When Chinese esports team Edward Gaming beat South Korea’s DWG Kia to win the the 2021 League of Legends world championship earlier this month, it sparked a frantic wave of celebrations across the country.
On the heels of that victory, the Chinese Communist Party inducted EDG’s Ming Kai into its ranks, a development authorities hailed as a way for the party’s “red energy” to spread in the industry. Ming, usually known by his in-game name CleverLove and a founding member of EDG, is the first player in China’s top professional LOL league to officially join the party, according to the team. In a photo posted by EDG of the ceremony held by party authorities in the Shanghai district of Huacao on Tuesday (Nov. 23), Ming is seen holding his fist up to his head, while facing the party’s flag.
In his application to become a party member, Ming, who is from the Chinese city of Wuhan, said he was in the city when it was under lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19 last year. “Seeing the aid for Wuhan coming from places across the country, and how the party members among the doctors were always on the front line, their behavior has touched me deeply…After the pandemic, I have firmed my determination of joining the party,” he wrote in the letter, posted by EDG.