Tencent's Qzone apologizes after 'comfort women' emojis spark outrage

Qzone, a social network by Tencent, has apologized and removed emojis created using stills from the recent documentary "Twenty-Two".

A screenshot of a set of Qzone emojis based on the documentary Twenty-Two.

Qzone, a social network by Tencent, has apologized and removed emojis of the so-called "comfort women" — women captured by Japanese during their invasion of China in World War II and forced to work as sex slaves — after the creations sparked outrage among Chinese netizens.

The emoticons used stills from popular documentary "Twenty-Two," which features the stories of 22 "comfort women." The film premiered in cinemas on August 14.

Some of the emojis had captions added such as "I was really wronged" or "at a loss."

Chinese netizens expressed their anger about the emojis which they said showed a lack of respect to the victims. Some even called for the creator to be punished.

Qzone made an apology on its official Weibo account on Monday, saying they had removed all the emojis and that they were provided by a third-party company. "The incident exposed the product team's flaws in our content supervision and reviewing mechanisms. We will immediately launch a self-investigation and make improvements."

"We will take this as a lesson and prevent such a matter from happening again," it added.

Soon after, the social media account of the documentary "Twenty-Two" shared Qzone's Weibo post and said, "Thanks for all the concern and support from the public, the matter has been solved."

The third party company that Qzone mentioned in their statement has yet to make a comment.

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