Representatives of grossroots community organizations hold pictures of "Comfort Women" during a rally on the sidewalk in front of Japanese Consulate General in San Francisco, the United States, on August 14, 2017.
A media company partnering with Tencent, one of the largest social media companies in China, has made stickers of the facial expressions of the "comfort women" interviewed in the documentary Twenty Two, drawing much criticism. Thepaper.cn comments:
The heart-rending documentary, shot three years ago, records the daily lives and memories of the last 22 women forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during its occupation of China. The women were the last "comfort women" still alive on the Chinese mainland at the time of filming. When it was broadcast last week, 14 out of the 22 women had passed away.
It is highly improper for the media company to use the distress of the "comfort women" recalling their traumatic experiences in such a frivolous manner. Tencent should also take the blame for giving the green light to these insensitive and exploitative stickers.
The two companies did not realize they had made an error until there was a spontaneous boycott of the stickers.
In the information era, the overwhelming emphasis on sensationalism to attract people's attention can all too easily cross the moral line.
That people took the initiative to spurn the tasteless stickers should ring the alarm bell for the whole industry not to go too far in trying to create a lucrative fad.
Although Tencent and its partner belatedly apologized on Tuesday, to compensate for their error, the two companies, as some have suggested, should provide material support to the eight women still alive who they sought to exploit for commercial purposes.