Chicken blood for the soul? Animal ritual toast at real estate firm’s project launch ‘just a stunt’

Sales manager says staff celebrated launch with soda, Chinese newspaper reports

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2018, 3:59pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 July, 2018, 11:23pm

One of China’s biggest property developers has denied suggestions that sales staff drank cups of chicken blood during a toast at the launch of a real estate project, a Chinese newspaper reports.

The denial came after a photo appeared online purportedly of a Country Garden cleaner drawing blood from a freshly killed chicken and pouring it into cups in Zhangzhou in the coastal province of Fujian, the Southern Metropolis News reported on Tuesday. Another photo showed rows of Country Garden employees making a toast.

The Chinese tradition of drinking chicken blood symbolises brotherhood and is reflected in the term “pumping chicken blood”, which means “insanity” or “excitement”.

But Country Garden sales team member Huang Xiaolin said the toast was with soda, according to the report.

“It is way too inhumane for them to drink chicken blood,” Huang was quoted as saying. “And there are parasites in the blood – it is impossible to drink it.”

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The One Hand video website also posted a clip online quoting an unnamed Country Garden employee as saying the photo with the chicken was a stunt.

“We just happened to have a cleaner who brought the chicken to the company to be cooked,” the man was quoted as saying. “The workers then used the chicken for a fun photo stunt.”

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Country Garden declined a request for comment from the South China Morning Post.

Hong Kong’s Department of Health said raw poultry and poultry products, including chicken blood, could contain or be contaminated with various kinds of human pathogens such as bacteria and bird flu viruses.

Consumption of raw or undercooked poultry products could lead to food poisoning or other serious infections such as bird flu, a department spokesman said.

Founded in 1992, Country Garden is based in Guangdong province and had a market value of US$7.6 billion last year, with various developments in other countries, including Malaysia and Australia.

Blood-drinking rituals hit the headlines last year when a car dealership in Sichuan province held a ceremony for staff. The dealership’s manager said the employees volunteered to down animal blood.

Other companies have come in for attention for other staff rituals. In May, employees at a firm in Yichang, Hubei province, were made to crawl around like dogs and slapped over their poor work performance while workers at a real estate company in the same area were made to dance on the street for similar reasons.