It seems that smell alone would be enough to leave you turning up daisies, and the taste suggests something which, unless you are a lawnmower, positively should never be ingested. If ever you’ve imagined taste-testing insecticide or paint thinner, Chinese white wine, or baijiu (白酒), should be a fair approximation. And if by some divine intervention you do survive it and the inevitable hangover, you will forever be haunted by memories of your hosts plugging your nostrils with lit cigarettes and forcing the drink down your throat with ghoulish generosity.
Okay, so obviously, we’re not fans of the stuff and many of the delightful perversities … er, idiosyncracies of doing business with Chinese characteristics. But, alas, we know: it’s all about fun and love and our host just wants to know what we look like when we are hysterically drunk against our will so that we can be very close friends and reminisce about our over-indulgence. “Ha! That was just degrading!” we’ll laugh one day.
In any case, it seems that at least some Chinese should agree that a live-pickling is not such a good idea, as Reuters is reporting that the Shanghai Daily is reporting that that five Chinese power bureau officials have been dismissed or demoted after 25-year-old Hebei man, Zhang Hongtao was found dead after a night of binge drinking.
“That night, Zhang consumed a lot of alcohol and became very ill. When the bureau invited the group to dine again the next day, Zhang’s lifeless body was found, which Zhang’s family said was due to alcohol poisoning.”
The story might have died with [Zhang] in April were it not for subsequent revelations that the fatally lavish binges were paid for by the company he was supposed to be inspecting, Yanshan Power Supply.
Mr Zhang’s case is now held up as an example of how widespread bribery has become in China, despite frequent highly publicised crackdowns and a ban on corporate entertaining of auditors.
This incident follows a similar case in Zhejiang last month in which eight friends were ordered to pay compensation after a guest they “made drink too much” collapsed and died at a banquet.
One would think that the intrinsic charms of the drink would be a deterrent to such depravity, but like corruption, pounding baijiu is simply a fact of the moment here.
Does anyone know where we can get a good deal on a new or used liver?