Eat live fish and drink chicken blood? Chinese workers allegedly punished for underperforming

Feeling overworked and stressed? At least you don't have a punishment worthy of Fear Factor awaiting if you don't perform well at work.

A company in Guizhou, China drew condemnation after a video of their employees undertaking gruesome activities was shared online on Aug 6.

The video shows a man handing out live mudfish to a lineup of workers, instructing them in Chinese to "bite it until it breaks". The workers were also shown drinking a substance reported to be chicken blood and can be seen grimacing and retching.

According to newspaper The Beijing News, the workers in the video are employees at a local mall selling hardware and construction materials.

A storeowner at the mall confirmed that the incident took place on Aug 4 and involved over 20 participants whose performance at work was not up to par.

A representative of the mall, known only as Wei, claimed that the employees in the video had participated voluntarily. He also said that the activity served as a form of motivation.

Netizens were not convinced and slammed the mall for abusing their employees.

"This 'punishment' is common among companies selling building materials. I really don't know how these bosses think of these things… 'Voluntarily'? More like afraid to lose their job. These evil bosses are perverted."
"They are just showing up for work and their dignity is gone."
Photos: Screengrab/Weibo

Another netizen pointed out the apparent futility of the entire exercise.

"The whole construction industry is going downhill. No matter what they eat it will be useless…"
Photo: Screengrab/Weibo

The local labour department told reporters on Aug 7 that they are investigating the incident.

Under China's labour laws, employers are prohibited from humiliating employees and enforcing corporal punishment.

However, despite the laws in place, these "motivation" sessions are more common than you think.

Companies have forced employees to drink toilet water, eat cockroaches and endure whippings, all in the name of sales targets.

kimberlylim@asiaone.com

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