Tianjin TV launched very controversial recruitment TV show

13 July 2012 17 h 42 min Comments Off

Tianjin Satellite TV has launched a commissioned entrepreneurship show “Only You, How the Boss Developed” (Laoban Shi Zenyang Liancheng De). This Apprentice-style reality TV show stirred high controversy.

The show will have entrepreneurs taking part in competitions like interviews, internships and industry challenges and judged by famous bosses to determine the winner. Successful applicants are offered jobs on the spot, while unsuccessful ones go home.

This Job-hunting TV show stired high controversy during the last weeks. Although it is designed to help job seekers, the program has sparked wide criticism for the harsh words the host and interviewers hurl at applicants.

In a recent episode, Guo Jie, a 32-year-old Shaanxi native who has spent the last 10 years studying in France, fainted on stage during a stern line of questioning by the panel of interviewers. On major microblogging sites like Sina Weibo and QQ.com, netizens called host Zhang Shaogang “cold-blooded” for not immediately going to Guo’s aid, and, instead, asking him whether he was faking the collapse. Meanwhile, Wen Yi, one of the panel members who claimed Guo’s Bac+5 certificate in international trade was only at a junior college level, also provoked netizens’ ire. One day after the program, the French Embassy in China confirmed on its official Sina Weibo microblog that a Bac+5 was definitely a master’s degree.

Kai-fu Lee, former head of Google China, led an online campaign to boycott the program. His campaign caught the attention of over 410,000 netizens last week, with 94.4 percent supporting the boycott.

The situation escalated when several members of the program’s interview panel and Lee became embroiled in a fierce online dispute following the boycott. A widely-circulated open letter, signed off on by a group of overseas students, urged China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television to “take drastic measures” in regards to the program, which the letter said “humiliates job candidates” and causes adverse social effects as the program will do anything to spur higher ratings.

According to China Daily, “despite the controversy, some netizens said the program offers a glimpse into China’s employment situation, especially the difficulties facing college graduates. The Chinese government began a push in 1999 to expand college education to produce more professionals to meet the demands of globalization. This year, more than 6.8 million graduates will enter the job market, up from 1.06 million in 1998. However, the number of high-skilled, high-paying jobs has not kept pace.”

“The challenging employment outlook, which dampens the confidence of many job-seekers, makes employers more arrogant, aggressive and prone to showing disrespect to applicants”, columnist Xiong Bingqi wrote in an online article.

Sources: China Daily (12/06/2012), Xinhua (11/07/2012)

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