Yang Wenzhan, a lawyer in Beijing who is unrelated to the bank employee, wrote in a blog post on Monday, “If you say you don’t want to drink, it may provoke some people. But if you give in and say you’re going to drink a little, you’ve given up your line of defense. Afterwards, when you say you have had enough, it will offend people.
But the lawyer, who is abstinent, said he was never forced to drink against his will. Many social crowds form based on drinking habits, he noted, and banquets can be split into two tables: one for those who like to drink and another for those who do so moderately or not at all.
“If you can drink and build professional relationships, that will help you,” he wrote. “But if you don’t have that ability, you can still make a good lawyer. “
Banquets can be a particularly intimidating environment for young working women in China, who often sit next to older executives and are expected to laugh at their jokes while getting caught with alcohol, experts say.
Some employees have coped with the pressure to drink by resorting to discreet tricks, such as pouring their glass on the floor.
For better or for worse, drunkenness is the goal of banquets in China, novelist Yan Ge wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed article in November. “When things go badly, it can be ugly: fights can break out; women can be abused for sport, ”she wrote.
“But when things are going well, mistakes are forgiven; the guests sweat, devour, drink and sing together, and only then will business be settled.
Claire Fu contributed to the Beijing research.