This video of a team-building exercise – which was supposed to motivate the employees of a hotel in northeast China – has caused an uproar among Chinese Internet users, some of whom say that these methods remind them of those practiced in North Korea.
In China, it is not uncommon for companies to organise early-morning pep rallies designed to boost employees’ spirits before they begin their workday. These generally feature songs and chants. However, the unusually rigorous performance by employees at Arirang hotel in Dandong, in northeast China (near its border with North Korea), caused many Chinese Internet users to express their concern on social networks.
In the video, a group of female employees are shown taking part in a sort of drill, repeating slogans praising the company over and over and stamping their feet until they start panting. They also participate in strange exercises, like throwing themselves at a cloth rope, which is supposed to symbolise an obstacle.
The video was filmed on January 8 during the company’s annual employee meeting. It has been viewed over 2 and a half million times on Youku, which is China’s equivalent of YouTube, and has garnered hundreds of comments on Weibo, its equivalent of Twitter.
Contacted by RFI, a hotel employee explained that “this event was meant to strengthen team spirit. All the obstacles, all the difficulties we were faced with this past year, we try to turn them into strengths.”
Here are a few excerpts from the video:
At 28 seconds: “I greet this day with love in my heart. Because that is the secret of success. Muscles cannot pierce shields, nor destroy a life. Only the invisible power of love can open the human heart […] I will use my love as my greatest weapon, and nobody will be able to defend themselves against it. They can counter my arguments, be wary of my words, or disapprove of the way I dress […] but my love will melt all hearts like the rays of sun soften clay.”
At 1’24”: Team leader: “The quickest way to reach success is…”
Employees: “…to follow the right man; to do what needs to be done!”
At 2’36”: The Jiangcheng group teaches us how to make money, how to become somebody, how to give the company everything we’ve got, how to make efforts together.”
At 2’53”: Team leader: “Get ready! Our team’s motto is…”
Employees: “Never give up! Never give up!”
At 12’40”: Team leader: “To reach our goals in 2013, what do we need to do?”
Employees: “… Stay concentrated on our goals, and never give up! Stay concentrated on our goals, and never give up!”
At 14’24”: “Raise your hands! Put them on your heart! The first bow is for your parents, for their generosity that is deeper than the ocean.”
At 14’48”: “The second bow is for our customers, thanks to whom we feed our families!”
At 15’09”: “The third is for Arirang hotel, which opens the doors to happiness!”