A viral video showing Chinese employees being slapped in the face and crawling on the floor has prompted renewed criticism of workplace bullying in the country.
Chinese workers slapped, forced to crawl in punishment
In a video circulating on social media, a woman was seen slapping six of her subordinates as they stood to attention in a line.
Next a group of men, all wearing company uniforms, were shown crawling around in a circle, while chanting.
The clips were taken during a performance appraisal session last month at a real estate company in Yichang, Hubei province in central China, news portal Thepaper.cn reported.
The video caused outrage on the Twitter-like social network Weibo.
“Corporate culture these days is getting more and more sick,” said user AaMoon.
“I would rather make no money than living without dignity,” said Xiangcunjiaoshihuyuehua.
In an interview with Thepaper.cn, the company’s manager Mr. Hu said the staff had requested the brutal punishments themselves.
“The six men failed to fulfill their duties as required,” he said. “When their supervisor Ms. Zhang asked them how they wanted to be punished, the men said they wanted slaps in the face.”
Zhang, who did the slapping in the video, has temporarily left her job due to online criticism, according to the report.
Geoffrey Crothall of labor group China Labour Bulletin says Chinese companies, especially those in the service industry, have in recent years resorted to abusive acts to enhance workers’ performance.
“Employees may be reluctant to report it for fear that they will lose their jobs,” Crothall says. “And unfortunately, police often treat the cases as management issues instead of criminal offenses.”
A similar video published online in 2016 showed employees in the northeastern province of Jilin crawling on the street after failing to meet their sales targets.
The same treatment was meted out to staff at a firm in Chongqing in 2013 who were forced to their hands and knees, as part of a training session on how to handle pressure.