Chinese firm forces staff to drink urine, eat cockroaches because they didn’t meet sales targets

  • Three managers of home improvement firm have been jailed after employee claimed staff were subjected to extreme punishments
  • Video shows man being whipped with a belt and others drinking cups of yellow liquid
PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2018, 6:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 November, 2018, 10:19pm

Three managers of a home improvement firm in southern China have been jailed after they forced staff to drink urine, eat insects and flogged them with belts because they did not meet sales targets, local media reported on Monday.

They were arrested after an employee of the company in Zunyi, Guizhou province claimed staff had been subjected to extreme punishments in a post on social media site Weibo last week. The hashtag “employees who failed to meet their goals forced to drink urine” has since been viewed almost 540,000 times.

The post included a video showing a man standing topless in the centre of a room being whipped by another man with a belt, with other people gathered around watching. It also shows people drinking cups of yellow liquid.

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It was later deleted, but screenshots carried by news website Zunyi Yaowen showed text messages apparently sent by managers threatening staff with various punishments if they did not meet sales targets set by the company.

“If the sales goal has not been met by the end of this month, the team leader will have to eat three cockroaches for each failed sale,” one text message read.

Other punishments involved drinking vinegar or toilet water, selling condoms and sanitary pads on the street and having their head shaved, according to other text messages in the post.

Two of the company managers have been jailed for 10 days, while a third manager will spend five days in jail, Zunyi police said in a statement on Weibo.

Many people on social media have asked why the employees did not quit their jobs, but one staff member told Pear Video that they were owed two months’ pay by the company. The person also alleged that the company had threatened to reduce their severance pay if they quit.

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As economic growth slows in China, labour unrest has been growing and reports of ill-treatment of workers have become more common. Apple, Amazon and Samsung supplier HEG Technology have all been accused of child labour, forced overtime and low wages in the past, according to New York-based China Labour Watch.

Beijing bans independent labour organising, trade unions and workers from going on strike. In August, labour activists that included students were arrested for supporting factory workers from welding machinery company Jasic International who were seeking to form a labour union after they were subjected to inhumane working conditions and later dismissed.