Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings said it fired nearly 70 employees last year for behaviour that included accepting bribes and offering fake online internships for money, as the company continued its internal anti-graft campaign. The company’s anti-graft department investigated over 50 cases involving bribery and embezzlement in 2021, referring at least 10 of those to police for suspected criminal offences, Tencent said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that its actions showed its “zero tolerance” for such activities. In addition to the individuals, the Shenzhen-based company blacklisted 13 outside companies from future cooperation. Communist Party expels Bo Xilai protégé in corruption probe aftermath In its statement, Tencent provided details on 16 cases, including five in which the fired employees were found to have offered “fake” online internship opportunities, receiving money paid by candidates through recruitment agencies. These employees were fired, blacklisted for life by Tencent, and reported to public security authorities. Some of the cases involved taking bribes from suppliers, including a former employee in Tencent’s music business who asked for and received money from a supplier, according to the statement. In another case, a team leader involved in sports content illegally sought personal profits by working with an outside company the employee controlled. At least one of the 16 cases was reported by local media at the time. China Business News revealed last October that Zhang Meng, a TV and film producer at Tencent, was under police investigation. Tencent said in its statement on Tuesday that Zhang was found to be taking bribes from suppliers, and was reported to police for further investigation. The police have yet to release results of the investigation and there has been no public report about Zhang being officially charged. Tencent issues public reports on its anti-graft investigations on a regular basis. In 2020, the social media and video gaming giant fired 100 employees for such offences and blacklisted 37 companies, while in 2019 it sacked more than 60 employees accused of graft. The house cleaning at Tencent comes amid Beijing’s tightened control over the country’s internet and tech sector, covering a broad range of areas from data handling to monopolistic conduct. China’s anti-graft watchdog said last week that it would step up investigations of any alleged corrupt practices behind the sector’s expansion of capital and creation of monopolistic online platforms. Tencent introduced its so-called “high voltage line” concept in 2005, to monitor and crack down on behaviour such as fraudulent activity in relation to information, data and fees, as well as accepting bribes or kickbacks and leaking sensitive information. Other tech companies are cracking down on internal corruption. ByteDance, the company behind short video apps Douyin and TikTok, vowed to tighten internal controls in November after two Douyin employees were fined and sentenced to more than a year in prison for accepting bribes to boost the presence of content on the platform. The number of corruption cases reported in the internet industry reached over 240 in 2021, up 153 per cent from the previous year, with live-streaming e-commerce and community group buying as the sectors with the biggest increases in graft, according to a report issued on Monday by Nandu Business Data.