BEIJING — A video showing a corporate trainer publicly spanking and humiliating bank workers has gone viral in China.
“Why were you ranked the lowest today?” trainer Jiang Yang demands during an onstage exercise in the video posted Monday by People’s Daily newspaper.
Each of the employees responds by saying: “Because I have not exceeded myself.”
Jiang then paddles the four men and four women hard on their backsides four times each with what appears to be a wooden rod.
Some of the Changzhi Zhangze Rural Commercial Bank employees can be seen recoiling in pain while people watching the incident cry out in surprise.
Jiang works for the Hongfeng Leadership Academy, which describes itself as a Shanghai-based corporate training institute.
The spankings were administered on Saturday in the northern city of Changzhi. They quickly went viral in China. The topic has garnered over 96 million views on Twitter-like service Weibo since Monday, with many readers saying they were angry at the trainer and the bank’s president.
Jiang published an apology — of sorts — on his Weibo account after the video emerged.
The corporate trainer said he usually asks students “whether they are willing to accept this type of punishment,” but had “forgotten” to ask this time around, according to his statement.
Reached by popular Chinese chat app Wechat, Jiang told NBC News that he has been conducting these types of leadership programs for eight years. The purpose of the training was to help people “change their thinking and challenge them to face their own personal issues,” he said.
“[Spanking the employees] was not a violation of their human rights and not any type of personal humiliation,” Jiang added. “I just didn’t control the severity of my spanking.”
Asked whether he would continue to use corporal punishment, Jiang said he needed to “re-evaluate” his methods and would respect his students’ willingness to accept his teaching style.
The Changzhi city government said the bank’s president Chen Xiaofei had been suspended as a result of the video.