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17 January 2016
Chinese tech giant Tencent has apologised for organising a sexually suggestive party game at a company event after a massive uproar by netizens who saw a video which went viral.
It also 'punished' the staff from the instant messaging department who organised the game by giving them 'demerit points'.
The footage, which was leaked online, shows kneeling female employees using their mouths to remove water bottle caps tucked between male employees' thighs.
The clip first appeared on Miaopai, a Chinese video sharing platform, and went viral quickly, sparking criticism and discussions across social media, reported Marketing-Interactive.com.
Angry netizens slammed the game as "sexist", "degrading to women" and "disgusting".
Tencent issued an official statement on Chinese social media site Zhihu to apologise, condemning the inappropriateness of the game and vowing to "reinforce management and oversight so something like this will not happen again", said Marketing-Interactive.com.
An executive in charge of the social network games department also posted an internal apology on Tencent's Weibo account, saying:
"As department head, I sincerely apologise, especially to the female colleagues who felt uncomfortable or offended. We will tackle this problem head-on and correct our values, and we want to say sorry to our female colleagues. The annual party is a department activity, and represents the company's image; we've lapsed in our oversight of the party games, and have caused much inconvenience."
A human resources manager followed up with a statement announcing demerit points for the employees involved, and reminding all departments to "keep to company values and culture" so that "something like this will not happen again".
An anonymous Weibo user, who claimed to be a former Tencent employee, said such offensive games had been held at Tencent events in the past too, adding that the practice was a "long tradition". "
As a former Tencent employee, this isn't surprising - it's a long-standing tradition. At a games division annual party three years ago, there was another lurid game where colleagues had to kiss each other through a piece of tissue; a female colleague refused, but was pressured into doing it. I feel embarrassed that I worked at Tencent, and I hope the executives can reflect and stop the sexist behaviour from happening again."