A sales group in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province is punishing its employees for not meeting sales quotas by making them eat a vile concoction of meal worms and alcohol.
According to China News Service, the bizarre spectacle occurred in a plaza in downtown Hanzhong, where 60 young employees were gathered for a meeting. Witnesses report the group was approached by a man carrying bags containing the worms, chopsticks, cups and a few bottles of baijiu, an infamously strong Chinese alcoholic beverage. Employees who had failed to meet their quotas were then called up by a leader of the sales group and forced swallow the mixture of insect larvae and alcohol.
Around 5-6 workers were seen accepting the punishment, with one pregnant woman backing out due to concerns for her unborn child. According to an employee, workers had to eat four worms for every customer they lost as part of a punitive routine that on prior occasions has included consuming live squid and ants. The firm’s boss, a man surnamed Cao, said that the workers had willingly accepted their gross penance, which is meant to encourage higher productivity.
Although Article 88 of China’s labor law stipulates that any employer that causes physical harm to its employees is liable for compensation, incidents of cruel or unusual punishment are not uncommon in China. In the past, unproductive workers have been forced to crawl around on their hands and knees, gulp down bitter gourd and get spanked for their poor performance. Some legal experts say that such punishments qualify as corporal and should be reported by victims, who could be eligible to receive financial reimbursement. However, it can be hard to discern whether cash can amend the psychological harm caused by the public humiliation endured by the participants.
After all, the memory of chewing wriggling insect babies doesn’t fade away so easily.
By Avery Davenport
[Image via BackyardChickens]