We’re big fans of the Global Times here at Shanghaiist. The ultra-nationalistic tabloid has provided us with a great deal of entertainment, be it encouraging leftover women to find a gay best friend / accessory, profiling crazy Maoist preachers, or criticising our reporting chops. The Times has outdone themselves this week though, with a report entitled ‘How to be a successful drunk‘.
Alcohol, as the Times explains, is a key element in doing business in China, and while some westerners may feign allergies or religion to avoid drinking shot after shot of baijiu, the Times wants you to know that there is another way.
Chen Ming (pseudonym), a construction contractor from Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, proved with his own experience that drinking, with the right social skills, can be so productive that one bottle of wine ended up netting him 30 million yuan ($4.87 million).
Chen did not come up with [his toast] by himself. The once introverted man spent more than 1,000 yuan on the “toasting technique” taught by Xiu Weiliang, the principal of the Harbin Weiliang Art of Communication School.
Xiu teaches his students – government officials and high-ranking businesspeople – how to “drink their way to success”, one shot of horrible, liver-destroying rice liquor at a time.
“I don’t just teach people how to drink. There are plenty of wine or alcohol tasting classes out on the street. I teach my students the wisdom of drinking, the art of bonding with people through drinking, the very path to success,” Xiu told the Global Times.
Zhuang Kexia, also of Weiliang Art of Communication School, explains:
In China, business isn’t usually conducted at the office, but rather, at the dinner table with alcohol […] Those who don’t understand the culture at the table have trouble getting things done. People consider drinking and friendship one and the same. The unspoken rule is that how much you drink reflects how affectionate you feel toward that person.
Xiu’s classes are in hot demand, he told the Times that he has taught over 4,000 students. Though the Sage of Shots is not without his critics, one netizen commented: “We have enough self-taught corrupted government officials. A training school for corruption is just too much”.