Footage of Chinese bank staff being spanked for poor performance at a training session has gone viral, triggering public anger and the suspension of the bank's boss, reports said Tuesday.
The video showed eight employees -- four men and four women -- lined up on a stage and being asked by a man why they came last in a competition.
After getting answers including "failing to exceed myself" and "lack of cohesion", he shouted: "Get your butts ready!" and proceeded to beat them several times with what appeared to be a thick wooden paddle.
One woman who tried to protect her posterior with her hands was ordered to remove them, yelping when she was hit.
Some Chinese reports cited employees of the Changzhi Zhangze Rural Commercial Bank, who declined to be named, saying that other trainees had their hair shaved as punishment.
The video sparked an outpouring of public fury after it was posted online late Sunday.
The trainer "must be sick" one user wrote on China's Twitter-like Weibo, saying that the workers and the bank only had a employer-employee relationship. "They are not slaves in ancient times."
Another user blasted the spanking as "perverted". He added: "Employees have dignity".
The Beijing Times reported Tuesday that top officials, including the chairman and the Communist Party chief of the bank, a rural lender in Changzhi in the northern province of Shanxi, had been suspended for "failing to conduct proper checks on the training programme".
Local authorities have also ordered the trainer, from a consulting company in Shanghai, to apologise publicly "for his inappropriate behaviour", it added.