Tencent Removes App After Netizens Use It to Mock Xi Jinping

February 17, 2021 Updated: February 17, 2021

An app on the Tencent QQ platform, called “Red Packet for Drawing” in Chinese, was removed after netizens started using it to satirize Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s rule, according to Taiwan’s Liberty Times.

Tencent QQ, also called QQ, is a popular Chinese instant messaging software service and web portal developed by internet giant Tencent. In traditional Chinese culture, a red packet or envelope is a monetary gift, usually given to children and teens in celebration of the Chinese New Year. Red envelopes are also given out at the workplace and other settings to reward those who perform well.

The “Red Packet for Drawing” app is a game in which the user wins a red packet by drawing a picture that illustrates the generated Chinese idiom.

A Chinese idiom (called “chengyu”) is an expressive phrase that has a figurative meaning. It usually consists of four characters.

For example, the expression “yi shou zhe tian” literally means “to cover the sky with a single hand.” It is a phrase with derogatory meaning, usually to refer to an individual or certain interest group that takes advantage of their privilege to deceive the public and maximize their own profits.

According to the app’s instruction video, to win a red packet for that idiom, one has to draw a flat line and then four points under it.

But recently, some netizens discovered that if one handwrites the Chinese character “Xi” that is the same as the Chinese leader’s surname, one passes the prompt and wins a red packet.

Some netizens then mocked Xi for “covering the sky with a single hand.”

Several Twitter users posted pictures of the idiom along with the “Xi” character.

Shortly afterward, the QQ platform removed the app. In an official statement, it claimed that the delisting was for “optimizing the gameplay experience” and improving its functions.

Netizens questioned why the app was removed during this time, the Chinese New Year holiday—when there is peak user traffic.

Tencent recently got into the Chinese regime’s crosshairs.

According to a Feb. 10 report by the Wall Street Journal, Zhang Feng, vice president of Tencent Holdings, was being held by Chinese authorities for passing on personal data collected by Tencent’s social media app WeChat to Sun Lijun, former deputy minister of public security, who is being investigated by the Chinese Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog.

Chinese netizens wondered whether there was any connection between Zhang’s arrest and the red packet app incident.

“The [app] removal occurred quickly. Wasn’t this an example of ‘covering the sky with a single hand’?” a Twitter user said.