According to reports, on September 22 a netizen wrote on Weibo an open letter to Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun, asking for an apology on the part of the company.
The netizen explained that she had taken part in a recruiting event at Zhengzhou University organized by Xiaomi. Although the event was open to students from all faculties, Xiaomi’s recruiter, named Qin Tao, mocked students of Japanese during his introductory address to applicants .
“If you study English or Arabic you can participate, because we have an overseas market [in countries where these languages are spoken]. But if you’re majoring in Japanese, you can leave right away, or I’d recommend you to go and work in the movie industry,” the recruiter said according to the netizen, who pointed out that “movie industry” was not the phrase used by the Xiaomi employee. It is likely to have been a reference to Japan’s adult film industry.
The netizen added that the students of all other faculties roared with laughter when they heard those comments, but students of the department of Japanese felt humiliated and walked out of the meeting. The netizen later that day sent an open letter to Xiaomi’s CEO demanding a public apology.
Angry students of Japanese flooded Xiaomi CEO’s Weibo account with angry messages, prompting the company to react.
On September 23 Mr. Qin apologized on Weibo. “My inappropriate remarks led everyone to think that [we] do not hire students from the department of Japanese studies, and made them think that they had not been treated fairly; [my comments] about students going to work in the movie industry made people laugh, hurting [your] feelings,” he wrote, adding that he took full responsibility for the incident.
“We students and teachers of Japanese do not love our country less than anyone less,” wrote one netizen in response. “We know Japanese but we don’t love Japan. We hope that our own technology will be better than theirs and our own IT and electronics industry will get better and better. We study Japanese, [but] we are Chinese.”
“I don’t support rejecting any language, the only exception is Japanese,” commented another netizen. “I dislike Japan. Don’t forget history.”
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