China's IT-giant Tencent on Tuesday apologised for the controversial emojis featuring wartime sex slaves on its instant-messaging platform, QQ.
The emojis, made with images taken from the Chinese documentary film "Twenty Two," show the distraught"comfort women" survivors of World War II with Chinese phrases "I am lost" and "I am wronged" comically placed next to them.
Online users have heavily condemned Tencent for the emojis' insulting nature towards the surviving victims.
Tencent, also the operator of WeChat, said it has taken down the emojis from the QQ platform and that it will run a review on its content examination regulations to prevent reoccurrence of similar problems.
Tencent explained the comfort women emojis were made by Siyanhui Co, a third-party company that produces emojis for social media platforms. According to Tencent's regulations, all users are allowed to upload emojis that have gained approval for "rich creativity, clear connotation" and "being able to add fun into a chat" while also abiding by moral codes, laws and regulations.
The documentary film "Twenty Two" was released on Aug. 14 to coincide with the International Memorial Day for the Comfort Women. The title refers to the number of the women who share their accounts in the 90-minute movie. Only eight of these 22 women are still alive as of August, according to report by China Daily.
A Korean survivor, the late Park Cha-sun, also appears in the film. Park stayed in China after the war ended, living by the name Mao Yinmei. She passed away on Jan. 8 in Hubei province in central China without returning to her motherland.