A horrifying video has emerged which shows workers at a Chinese construction company being forced to eat live fish and drink chicken blood as punishment for not meeting quotas.
The gruesome footage, filmed in Guizhou province, shows a man reaching into a bucket and handing live mud fish to workers, who can then be seen eating the creatures; pained grimaces on their faces.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, the workers then proceeded to drink down a substance reported to be chicken blood.
As per the Shanghaiist, the construction company owner has denied there was anything wrong with this undeniably grim punishment, arguing the staff were all shop owners whose participation had been voluntary.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time cruel and humiliating punishments have been dealt out at Chinese workplaces.
In 2016, The Paper reported on a video which showed employees at a Jilin car loan company being forced to crawl on all fours through the street after failing to meet their sales targets.
After the footage went viral, the loan company boss claimed the staff had crawled along the street voluntarily, arguing he had just wanted to set a ‘good example’ for his employees. He also had the gumption to suggest the discipline had actually boosted company morale.
Another incident occurred in 2018, when a group of suited employees from Xiamen were instructed to kneel on an overpass for a full hour as penance for leaving tasks incomplete.
Each employee had a sign placed in front of them which read, ‘Kneeling down voluntarily on the bridge for one hour as a punishment for unfinished tasks’.
After the footage went viral, Jimei University law school professor Ju Donghong, law school teacher told Xiamen Daily:
Their company might be legally responsible for such punishments if it was found to have coerced its employees to do so. If it’s not voluntary, then it violates their rights as people.
Other reported punishments at businesses in China have included workers being forced to drink toilet water and eat gourd, an unpleasantly bitter type of vegetable.
Workers rights in China leave plenty to be desired. According to anti-poverty NGO The Borgen Project, independent labour unions are illegal in China, with the government only endorsing one union, the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU).
As ACFTU is tied so closely to the government, many workers feel it is an unreliable advocate for their rights. However, labour activists and NGOs are continuing to fight for change.
There were 600 reported worker strikes or protests in 2017 alone, with The Borgen Project noting estimates for unreported strikes in recent years could well be even higher.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.