Prisoners in China's Jixi labour camp have been forced by prison bosses to play online games in order to build in-game credit that can be traded for real money, according to The Guardian.

"There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb [£470-570] a day. We didn't see any of the money. The computers were never turned off." stated one prisoner.

"If I couldn't complete my work quota, they would punish me physically. They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things."

"Gold farming" has become so prevalent throughout China it is estimated 80 per cent of all those who partake are within the country.

Anyone who has spent even a minimal amount of time in an MMO will have come across gold farmers before. However most online games such as World of Warcraft are continuously trying to crack down on their numbers by banning suspect accounts.

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