您现在的位置:首页 > 新闻 > 正文


更新:2016-10-11 23:02:23  |  来源:转载  |  阅读:6

Binge-drinking is increasingly common for Chinese professionals – often it's even in the job description
Drinking to develop work relationships has a long history in China.



Peter Chi knows he has to cut back on his drinking. It is not much fun at the best of times, and the worst have included hospitalisation – after drinking fake alcohol – and the numerous evenings where he has passed out at the table.


"No one likes binge drinking, but it's not under your control," he complains. "Of course I don't like it, but there's nothing I can do."


Chi, from north-eastern Liaoning province, is not an alcoholic. Nor is he a party animal, despite his four-times-a-week binges. But as a respectable headteacher in his 40s, he feels he has little choice but to indulge – or risk harming his career. In the west, binge drinking is associated with young men and women spilling out of pubs and clubs in the early hours of the mornings. But in China drinkers are older and – in many cases – drinking not just for fun but for career reasons.


"If I drink, it doesn't necessarily help me get promoted. But if I don't, it's less likely that I will be. So I must drink, even if it's not pleasant at all," Chi explains. "People want to show they are forthright and try to get along with others … It's very normal to get an order to drink from bosses."


In fact, some job adverts explicitly demand applicants who can hold their alcohol. "Candidates with good drinking capacity will be prioritised," says one for the Hunan Zhike Public Security Engineering Company, an alarms and surveillance technology firm that is seeking a business manager.


"The job is to develop business through establishing closer connections with our clients. Drinking is a big part of the work," explains the recruiter, adding that the successful candidate will need to handle 250 to 500ml of baijiu at a time.


The clear spirit, usually made from sorghum, ranges in price from as little as five yuan – less than 50p – to tens of thousands of yuan for vintage bottles of the best brands. It is a staple of formal or celebratory dinners, often coupled with beer. It is also notorious for causing inebriation, since it is 80 to 120 proof and frequently consumed in large quantities.


Alcohol certainly greases the wheels of business in the west, too, but people can usually stop after one or two glasses. In China, the opposite is often true: it is much easier to refuse an initial drink than to stop once you have started. Foreigners are not immune to the pressure – one friend recalls being poured half pints of baijiu by an overly hospitable local official, who paused briefly to vomit before topping up his glass again.


Drinking to develop and cement relationships has a long history in China. "When one drinks with a friend, a thousand cups are not enough," runs one traditional saying. That does not mean bingeing has been the norm: in the 1980s, a study of Chinese classical poetry concluded that heavy drinking had been in and out of favour over the years. Experts have suggested that Chinese habits – consuming alcohol with food, playing drinking games and toasting in a highly ritualised fashion – served to regularise alcohol intake and limit drunkenness.


But in the last few decades, consumption has soared, fuelled by increased personal freedoms and rising incomes. "Excessive drinking, frequent drinking [five to seven days a week] and binge drinking behaviour have reached epidemic proportions among current drinkers in China," warned a study published in the journal Addiction last month.


The authors, led by Li Yichong of the National Centre for Chronic and Non-Communicable Disease Control, found that only 56% of men and 15% of women drink. But of those, 57% of men and 27% of women binge.


Bingeing and excessive drinking were most common in men aged between 35 and 44; and frequent drinking increased significantly with age, whereas in "Anglo" cultures alcohol consumption usually peaks in the late 20s or early 30s, the paper noted.


The government has pledged to tackle driving under the influence – police caught half a million drunkards behind the wheel last year – but bingeing does not otherwise seem to lead to much anti-social behaviour in China. You won't see people urinating on the street, or the equivalent of beered-up rugby lads pulling down their trousers for the delectation of passing women.


So the main issue is the damage that drinkers are doing to themselves. China is still some way off the cirrhosis death rates seen in Britain or Japan, according to World Health Organisation figures.


And in more cosmopolitan and educated circles, over-indulgence is often regarded as somewhat déclassé – suggesting that perhaps heavy drinking may fall out of fashion again. Anecdotally, friends suggest that people are increasingly willing to make excuses on health grounds or to surreptitiously dilute their baijiu with a mineral water bottle hidden under the table.


But such changes can't come fast enough for China's reluctant drinkers. "Health is a big concern of mine. Even if things seem OK right now, there'll definitely be problems when I get to 30 or 40 if I keep drinking like this," says Bruce Wang, a young businessman whose work involves regular boozing sessions with clients.


"I get drunk a lot … It's impossible to feel good about it."




22 August 2011 8:15PM
Any Irishman, Scotsman or englishman could drink a Chineseman under the table easily. Large sections of our society are based on getting drunk. We could easily beat the Chinese in a drink off

Recommend? (133)

22 August 2011 8:16PM
Binge drinking part of the job description? Is that preferable to slave labour? http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6733564947664645042

Recommend? (4)

22 August 2011 8:18PM
The author wrote:
Binge-drinking is increasingly common for Chinese professionals often it's even in the job description.
Now, where did I put that Mandarin Chinese for Dummies book of mine ... ?

Recommend? (65)

22 August 2011 8:18PM
It is no secret that life for the average worker in China is miserable. Those people should be allowed to binge drink to their heart's content - they won't get much other respite. If it is good enough for Russia or Scotland then it is surely good enough for an emerging superpower.

Recommend? (19)

22 August 2011 8:21PM
I know I may soudn like a naive Westerner but...
"Candidates with good drinking capacity will be prioritised,"
That sounds incredible. Maybe university wasn't a waste after all....

Recommend? (240)

22 August 2011 8:29PM
Wealth, power and excess - its what china has had to get use to. Its not their fault they can't express themselves naturally either - seen as a sign of weakness.

Recommend? (11)

22 August 2011 8:33PM
They do value a bottle of quality Scotch in China.
Its a shame this article implies they are incapable (hehe)... of enjoying it

Recommend? (6)

22 August 2011 8:37PM
This is almost the mirror image of Japanese drinking after work in Tokyo and also among cub reporters in Seoul, S Korea. Some American reporters were famous for drinking binges after work (and sometimes during the shift) working in big city newsrooms.

Recommend? (15)

22 August 2011 8:37PM
As a recovering alcoholic, I can safely say that nobody drinks to excess unless they are deeply unhappy or depressed.

Recommend? (109)

22 August 2011 8:37PM
In fact, some job adverts explicitly demand applicants who can hold their alcohol. "Candidates with good drinking capacity will be prioritised,"
Excellent. Where do I apply?

Recommend? (26)

22 August 2011 8:37PM
The modern version of the Opium Den returns. Poor sods.

Recommend? (35)

22 August 2011 8:38PM
As a recovering alcoholic, I can safely say that nobody drinks to excess unless they are deeply unhappy or depressed
Speak for yourself pal.

Recommend? (237)

22 August 2011 8:38PM
Bruce! Peter!
Don't these people have proper names.
Bruce! Peter!

那些中国人难道叫这个名字?(这里是指原文作者用Bruce Chi,Peter Wang这样名字来称呼中国人,暗示作者作品的真实性。我猜作者采访的都是在华外企员工,在一些欧美外企中,这样的称呼其实很常见——译者)
Recommend? (6)

22 August 2011 8:46PM
@ sergeybodrov
It is no secret that life for the average worker in China is miserable. Those people should be allowed to binge drink to their heart's content - they won't get much other respite
I humbly suggest you actually read the piece before commenting.

Recommend? (167)

22 August 2011 8:52PM
This is excellent news the Chinese need binge drinkers and we have a glut of unemployed graduates who have what appears to be a globally marketable skill. The government wanted to cut drinking numbers and decrease our capacity to drink where clearly it is the industry of the future.

Recommend? (113)

22 August 2011 8:53PM
I dont know if it is true but I have heard that oriental people have a low tolerance for alcohol.

Recommend? (28)

22 August 2011 8:55PM
bodge - Well having lived with both Chinese and Japanese individuals I'd say compared to the average Scot yes its true but I am unsure as to weather that has something to do with our drinking culture and excessive consumption rather then something else?

Recommend? (7)

22 August 2011 9:05PM
Yo! Survival Of The Drunkest.
That's an evolutionary imperative I can get behind.

Recommend? (35)

22 August 2011 9:09PM
"The modern version of the Opium Den returns. Poor sods."--kaff
Not really. As the author points out, throughout Chinese history, drinking has fallen into and out of favour. Li Bai is legendary among Chinese poets for his drinking / alcohol poems.

"现代鸦片馆回来了。蠢男人们" –kaff
Recommend? (15)

22 August 2011 9:13PM
I remember giving my hong kong chinese mate in school his first drink. He had about 1 shot of vodka developed alcoholic flush reaction and had to lie down. Only after did I learn that 50% of Chinese can't metabolize alcohol properly. I think it making 50% of population look like a tomato and feel sick means they are always less like to be as badly affected as us westerners.
In my experience they need to be much more worried about gambling and smoking.

Recommend? (137)

22 August 2011 9:25PM
Good luck and a good life to you.


I'm always amazed how some people scud though life consuming nothing stronger than a deekaff tea. What a fascinating bunch. Several of my family members were thus abstemious, nice folk but I never clicked with them. Yawn.


I've always been one to sneak out and have the odd fag in the lea of a veranda roof at the pub. Or more.


Statistics will prove me wrong, but my anecdotal life has proved to me that people who seek stimulants (or have to resist them for years) are far more attuned to nuances and sensitive to the crap of life.


If the bores who aren't interested live longer, so be it.

Recommend? (40)

22 August 2011 9:30PM
What the hell is "fake alcohol"?
As a recovering alcoholic, I can safely say that nobody drinks to excess unless they are deeply unhappy or depressed
As a recovering alcoholic, you can't safely say that at all. As a non alcoholic, who likes to drink, I can safely say you don't know what you're talking about. Sometimes people drink to excess by mistake. Sometimes they just want to cut loose.
Recommend? (75)

22 August 2011 9:32PM
By the way, baijiu is absolutely disgusting. How anyone can get down more than one shot of the stuff is beyond me. It tastes like rancid fish steeped in gasoline.

Recommend? (35)

22 August 2011 9:40PM
It only seems longer....
Recommend? (12)
22 August 2011 9:56PM
Any Irishman, Scotsman or englishman could drink a Chineseman under the table easily. Large sections of our society are based on getting drunk. We could easily beat the Chinese in a drink off


Having being on a binge or two with Chinese friends (male and female) here in Dublin, I can quite assure you this isn't even slightly true.


And the Vietnamese are even worse!

Recommend? (70)

22 August 2011 10:32PM
how much is a can of (imported) Heineken in China ?
Recommend? (2)

22 August 2011 10:43PM
I wonder.....is there possibly a parallel here between English youth who can earn a wage to drink but not to buy a house, and the rise of property prices in China, pricing most of Chinese youth out of the property market, but not out of the drink market?

Recommend? (2)

22 August 2011 11:18PM
It's not the drinking so much as the fact that they drive afterwards, cellphone in one hand and cigarette in the other, and even sober they are appallingly incompetent, drivers

Recommend? (32)

22 August 2011 11:25PM
Philip D
Don't know about the Chinese and Japanese but I can vouch for the capacity and endurance of Vietnamese drinkers, who can consume copius amounts of 'Bia Hoi' (a local Hanoi brew) and local vodka, They get drunk quite quickly and get very red in the face but then seem to keep going??


andyrich 666
A can of imported Heineken is anywhere between 18-25 yuan here in Guangzhou

回复andyrich 666,一听喜力啤酒广州大概18-25元人民币
Recommend? (9)

22 August 2011 11:32PM
I must be dreaming.

Recommend? (2)

23 August 2011 12:40AM
The number of comments by people who haven't read the article is staggering- at least half. Truly unbelievable. Well okay not unbelievable- but still, even more than usual.

Recommend? (15)

23 August 2011 12:54AM
Alcohol? It's not a drug, it's a drink!

Recommend? (14)

23 August 2011 12:57AM
Ah, Guardianistas, I sometimes forget the culture this paper fosters where it's absolutely not okay to be racist or derogatory or make sweeping generalisations about any people other than the Chinese. Your comments sadden me.

Recommend? (79)

23 August 2011 1:13AM
It isn't true that you never see laddish drunkards.
Those midde-aged alcoholics (and they are alcoholics - how can you drink that much a week and not be?) are quite often rude, sometimes do urinate on the street. But generally i guess the point is accurate, they are certainly more sedate drinkers.
More scary to me are the younger drinkers, out to have a good time yes, but to similarly dangerous levels, and they often fight.

Recommend? (28)

23 August 2011 1:18AM
I was an english teacher in china


many of these comments are just ignorant


I have no problem with drinking, i enjoy it, but it is wrong when your boss orders you to drink


for sure i was expected to drink when my handler found me a school to teach in, even in a proper school (english first) with no handler I was expected to drink and go out with staff etc. far beyond my job description. Eventually I refused and was fired for not 'putting enough effort in'


generalizations about race are not so helpful, many chinese people I met could drink anyone under the table.


when you 'cheers' the word is 'ganbei' which means full glass, so when you toast you are expected to chug your pint of beer or spirits. This can get tiresome if... well if you just don't feel up to chugging liters of beer/spirits


also baijou is truly awful


I certainly had to vomit at times just to make space for more beer, I certainly took a few naps on the floors of public restrooms, and while my chinese friends/colleagues did behave very respectfully even while drunk, that didn't stop me from pissing very very publicly... not out of disrespect, just extreme drunkenness.


I would not say it is worse than here... just different.

Recommend? (88