A disturbing video getting attention on social media shows a row of eight Chinese bank employees on a stage being told to "get their butts ready" then spanked—hard—in front of their colleagues for "not exceeding themselves." The employees had been in a "Breakthrough in Performance" training class, and a man with a microphone asked them each to explain why they ranked lowest in the class, the South China Morning Post reports. After they all gave reasons like "failing to make a personal breakthrough," he whacked each of them on the behind with a thick stick four times. (After the third time, when one woman tried to cover herself with her hands, he yelled, "Take off your hand!")
After the 75-second video, taken by someone in the audience, appeared online Monday and went viral, the president and another executive from the bank were suspended. Shanxi Rural Credit Cooperatives Union confirmed the video was taken during Zhangze Rural Commercial Bank's training on Saturday. NPR, citing People's Daily, says at least 200 people were in the audience. An anonymous staff member says that another punishment involved 16 employees whose heads were forcibly shaved. The man doing the spanking was a trainer, not a bank executive, and reportedly charges more than $15,000 per day for his classes. He has publicly apologized, though he insists spanking is "one of the most effective ways to raise consciousness."