A video has surfaced on social media sites which shows a corporate trainer asking workers about their performance, before proceeding to spank four men and four women with what appears to be a wooden paddle.
“Why were you ranked the lowest today?” trainer Jiang Yang demands while onstage with eight unlucky employees in the video posted Monday by People’s Daily newspaper.
Each of the employees answered: “Because I have not exceeded myself.”
Jiang then proceeds to paddle the four men and four women hard on their buttocks four times each.
The employees are from the Changzhi Zhangze Rural Commercial Bank, and can be seen reacting in pain while people in the audience watching cry out in surprise in apparent disbelief.
Jiang is from the Hongfeng Leadership Academy, which describes itself as a Shanghai-based corporate training institute.
The spankings were administered on Saturday in the northern city of Changzhi; a prefecture-level city in Shanxi Province, China. The video quickly went viral in China and has garnered over 96 million views on China’s version of Twitter, Weibo, since Monday.
Jiang, however, has published an apology on his Weibo account after the video surfaced.
Jiang claims that he usually asks students “whether they are willing to accept this type of punishment”, but had “forgotten” to ask this time around, according to his post.
NBC News reached Jiang via popular Chinese chat app Wechat. NBC News discovered that Jiang has been conducting these types of leadership programs for eight years. It was to help people “change their thinking and challenge them to face their own personal issues,” he said.
“[Spanking the employees] was not a violation of their human rights and not any type of personal humiliation,” Jiang added. “I just didn’t control the severity of my spanking.”
When asked if he would continue to use his method of corporal punishment, Jiang said he needed to “re-evaluate” his methods and would respect his students’ willingness to accept his teaching style.
The Changzhi city government said the bank’s president Chen Xiaofei had been suspended because of the video.