Sales representatives at a decoration in Chongqing, Кытай, eat raw bitter melon on stage as a punishment for their poor performance on July 16, 2016. (via Sina)Sales representatives at a decoration in Chongqing, Кытай, eat raw bitter melon on stage as a punishment for their poor performance on July 16, 2016. (via Sina)

The director of a Chinese decoration company has decided the best way to encourage his poor-performing sales representatives is public humiliation—putting them on stage and eating raw kugua, the famed Chinese bitter melon, in front of other employees.

“It was my first time eating bitter melon raw,” said Tang Shuju who added that he nearly threw up after having the first bite. “But the rule is that if you throw up, you have to eat another one.”

“I belched while I was eating it,” said another employee who managed to down the vegetable with the help of some water. “But I put up with having it in my mouth. I was afraid to be punished and made to have a second one if I puked.”

The incident took place Chongqing in southwest China, reported Chinese news portal Sina on July 19. It is the latest in a trend of negative reinforcement that are intended, somehow, to encourage success.

Salesmen in their underwear run through the streets of Foshan. (via Yangcheng Evening News)

Company director Mr. Shi said he came up with the bitter melon punishment because the company’s business took a dive because his 100 sales staff had shown a dip in performance in the hot summer temperature. A total of 40 employees who failed to meet their weekly quotas were treated to the melon, Shi told Sina.

“You either eat bills [money], or you eat bitter melon. Everyone loves bills and nobody wants to eat bitter melon. If you don’t want to suffer, you work harder,” said Mr. Shi, who claims that the punishment has caused a threefold jump in sales.

Netizens commenting on Sina Weibo, China’s popular microblogging site, aren’t so keen about the measures taken. One comment from Liaoning Province reads: “how messed up, isn’t it enough just to deduct from their bonus?

“There are no human rights in Chinese companies,” a comment from Jiangsu Province says. “A worker’s dignity is as worthless as dust.”

Public humiliation is far from new in China. During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, intellectuals and officials were criticized and often physically attacked, sometimes fatally, in rallies known as “struggle sessions.” Current Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s father Xi Zhongxun became the subject of one of these sessions after he was labeled an “anti-party element.”

In recent years, humilation has been revived for capitalist pursuits. In June, a video went viral online after an agricultural bank in Shanxi Province hired a consulting coach to publically spank employees who performed unsatisfactorily in a training session.

Other companies have taken punishments outdoors. In July 2013, male sales representatives of a gym in Foshan, a city in the southern province of Guangdong, were forced to run through the streets dressed only in their underwear while shouting “Complete the mission,” the state-run Yangcheng Evening News reported.

Saleswomen in Chongqing crawl on the ground as punishment for their poor performance. (via People’s Net)

The run became a daily slog for some salesmen who couldn’t hit their previous day’s targets. This was only one of multiple possible punishments, including the consumption of raw bitter melon, compulsory begging on the streets, or having their heads shaved.

Female employees are not immune to penal humiliation, either. In May 2013, saleswomen at a cosmetics company in Chongqing were made to crawl in their red uniforms and high heels through the city’s busy business district while shouting “we can make it!” reported People’s Net, the online edition of state mouthpiece People’s Daily. A male colleague led the procession while waving a red flag.

Workers grovel while shouting gratitude for their employers in Shenyang. (via Guncha)

Humiliation isn’t only for punishment. In September 2015, the owner of a hot pot restaurant in Shenyang, capital of Liaoning Province in the northeast, decided that being grateful was corporate culture. In a public stunt reported by the Shanghai-based website Guncha, his employees were ordered to get on their knees and kowtow to the restaurant’s executives, while shouting their gratitude for letting them work for him.

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In the name of “maintaining social security,” the Chinese regime spends billions of dollars to bolster its security apparatus every year. Бирок,, despite this exorbitant expenditure, the authorities in Beijing still don’t think its residents adequately safe from supposedly dangerous ideologies.
At a Jan. 13 press conference, the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau lauded the accomplishments of four groups of district security volunteers, and publicly unveiled a fifth group, the Online Police Volunteers.
Established in 2014, the 3,000-member strong Online Police Volunteers is comprised of mainly youngsters—80 percent are born after 1980sand people from all walks of life, according to People’s Net, the online version of state mouthpiece People’s Daily. Volunteers are responsible for scouring the Chinese Internet for “criminal leads,” assisting the police with Internet censorship and cybersecurity, and reporting Internet users who “spread rumors.
Citizen public security volunteers serve as the Chinese Communist Party’s eyes and ears on the ground, monitoring and spying on their fellow citizens. Far from stabilizing society, Chinese Internet users and observers suggest that the presence of these informants only generates friction between the Chinese people and the communist regime.
Many Chinese Internet users reacted angrily to the unveiling of the Online Police Volunteers on Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging website.
The new volunteer security group “will soon themselves become the targets of social harmony and stability,” wrote Internet user “Adil—–” in a post. Other Internet users likened the group to “criminal accomplices,” “Nazi thugs,” and even “modern-day Red Guards.
The Red Guards were impressionable Chinese youth in the 1960s mobilized by Mao Zedong to attack “counterrevolutionaries”the Communist Party’s political enemiesand destroy traditional Chinese culture during the tumultuous decade of the Cultural Revolution.
The strong online reaction can in part be explained by a recently enacted Chinese legislation that targets the so-called “spreading of rumors.As of Nov. 1, 2015, those found guilty of rumor mongering face up to seven years in prison.
The establishing of informant groups is an attempt by the Chinese authorities to get the “masses to struggle against each other,” said Xu Lin, a human rights activist from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, to international broadcaster Radio Free Asia (RFA). He adds that the Chinese authorities wouldn’t be able to effectively intimidate the millions of Chinese netizens with their relatively scant volunteer online citizen police.
But the mere presence of citizen informants definitely deepens the rift between the regime and the people, Chinese blogger Ye Du told RFA in an interview.
“It’s like having a sword of Damocles hanging over headanyone can be reported anytime.

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He Huaihong, professor of philosophy at Peking University in Beijing, discusses his new book, “Social Ethics in a Changing Chinaand his ideas on reconstructing social ethics in China. He spoke at The Brookings Institution, on Nov. 6. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)
WASHINGTONIn a book recently published by Brookings Institution Press, Chinese Professor He Huaihong proposes a new social ethics for a society that many observers, both inside and outside China, say is in a state of moral crisis.
An historian, ethicist, social critic, and unapologetic defender of Confucianism, Professor He proposes an intellectual framework to guide people’s behavior and restore social ethics to China so that it can take its place among other nations without shame. Professor He spoke at the Brookings Institution on Nov. 6 on his new book, “Social Ethics in a Changing China: Moral Decay or Ethical Awakening?”
He Huaihong is professor of philosophy at Peking University in Beijing. The book is actually 19 essays, written, except for two, between 2002 жана 2013, and edited for the book.
“Currently, we have quite a serious problem with morality in Chinese society now. The basic issues are that we lack basic trust and we lack kindness,” said He, through his English translator.
It is particularly endemic in the people’s trust for their political leaders. “Whatever the government says, the people don’t believe any of it. Even when they say things that are the truth, the people still don’t believe it,” said He. Members of the Communist Party and state officials are also mistrustful, ал айтты.
“The topic of the moral decay and lack of trust in present day China are not sensitive topics and certainly not politically taboo in the PRC,” said Cheng Li, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings, who introduced Professor He.
In the introduction to the book, Li provides a long list of widespread practices that illustrate severe ethical problems: “commercial fraud, tax fraud, financial deception, shoddy and dangerous engineering projects, fake products, tainted milk, poisonous bread, toxic pills, and the decline in professional ethics among teachers, doctors, lawyers, Buddhist monks, and especially government officials.
Professor He writes that corruption by government officials is not limited to the top level. Even “village heads, town mayors, local bank managers are able to accumulate tens or even hundreds of millions of yuan in bribes. A district bureau chief may own dozens of houses.
There iswidespread indifference to others, a lack of concern for human life, for public decorum, and for the law. — Social Ethics in a Changing China: Moral Decay or Ethical Awakening? (2015)

Professor He is particularly troubled how kindness is being lost in Chinese society. In his talk he mentioned that if people see an elderly person fall down, a lot of people don’t dare to pick him or her up for fear of being extorted for money. They may end up having to pay the medical bills. In the book, He found shocking that when a two-year-old was run over by two different vehicles, she was ignored by dozens of passers-by.
“There have been repeated accidents involving kindergarten buses; when trucks crash, passers-by do not save the victims but steal the freight instead,” he writes in the eighth essay, “Moral Crisis in Chinese Society.
“There iswidespread indifference to others, a lack of concern for human life, for public decorum, and for the law,” writes He.
Cultural Revolution
Professor He identifies many historical sources for the moral decay, but none more often than the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) when the country fell to the nadir of moral degeneration. The campaign to “smash the four olds”old thought, old culture, old customs, and old habitsleft the traditional morality “clinging only by a thread.
“That battering included destruction of many ancient and historical books, artifacts, and sites. The tombs of some honored historical figures were wrecked, and sometimes even their remains dug up. … Children were ordered to report on their families and sometimes even took part in beating members of their own familiesPolitics completely supplanted morality. The only criterion for moral right and wrong was loyalty to a political leader, Mao Zedong.
He Huaihong (L), professor of philosophy at Peking University in Beijing, and Cheng Li, director, John L. Thornton China Center, The Brookings Institution, discuss moral decay and ethical awakening in China, at Brookings on Nov. 6. (Gary Feuerberg/ Epoch Times)
The core of the Cultural Revolution was the Red Guards, who were at their height in the first two years from 1966 үчүн 1968, during which “the country was in a state of virtual anarchy.They were much diminished after July 1968 when Mao sent most of them to the countryside. He became a Red Guard when he was 12 and witnessed some of its activities and extreme violence. He says he was on the fringe, primarily an observer.
A key feature of the Red Guard movement was its “propensity for violence.One of their favorite slogans was, “Long live the red terror!” He describes an incident in the book when he became afraid of the “indiscriminate violence.
“Morality took a backseat to politics,” said He. From the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the war with Japan, values incorporated from the Soviet Union and Stalin, “China in the 20th century went through a complete reversal of our traditional, ancient values.
[During the Cultural Revolution] politics completely supplanted morality.

In his harsh criticism of the Red Guards, he blames only Mao and absolves the Chinese Communist Party. But criticism of the CCP, while never explicit, lies just below the surface. He refers to 100 years of turmoil before the past 30 years of the market economy which he says has left a heritage that is suspect. The cries for equality of the last century must be incorporated in a reconstructed ethics, he says, but “extremist theories of class warfare and the philosophy of zero-sum conflict are not the inheritance that we should accept (page 77),” writes He, referring to fundamental Communist Party doctrines.
Without naming the CCP, He writes that the old ideology evolved out of a

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