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Companies rebuked for disrespect of war hero

By Wang Keju | China Daily | Updated: 2018-07-02 09:03
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The logo for Douyin, pictured on May 25, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

Cyberspace regulators have ordered Douyin - a Chinese popular short video app under ByteDance - and Chinese search engine Sogou, to carry out corrective measures over advertisements that degrade martyrs.

Directed by the Cyberspace Administration of China, internet regulators in Beijing and the city's industry and commerce administration held face-to-face talks on Saturday with five companies to demand an immediate campaign to clean up content that insults the nation's heroes and martyrs, the Beijing regulator said on Sunday. Three other companies involved are from the advertising and media production sectors.

The move comes after Douyin placed an advertisement on Sogou that was said to insult Qiu Shaoyun, a hero of the Korean War (1950-53). Qiu allowed himself to be burned alive where he lay prone so that his platoon would not be exposed to the enemy.

Web searches for Qiu's name were manipulated to attract readers to a link for downloading a Douyin app. The scheme was based on a joke about Qiu.

Responding to a communication from the State Administration for Market Regulation, the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce is probing the five companies, according to a news release, and punishment will be forthcoming.

The five companies have been ordered to conduct a thorough self-examination on related content; conduct internal training on policies, regulations, socialist core values and revolutionary history; and improve their internal content review mechanisms to prevent such violations from recurring.

Names and images of heroes and martyrs such as Qiu must not be used in commercial advertisements, the news release said.

It's not the first time Byte-Dance - which also runs China's popular news aggregator Toutiao - has fallen foul of rules.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism recently criticized Toutiao over a satirical comic strip poking fun at Dong Cunrui, a PLA soldier during the War of Liberation (1946-49) who blew himself up to guard an approach to a bridge and destroy a Kuomintang bunker.

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