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Forced or not? Samsung China executives kneeled down after Galaxy Note 7 incidents

Chatter started to emerge in Chinese social networks after a photo of the Chinese executives of Samsung China kneeling down went viral.

A netizen called “Bulaode Laohui” on Saturday posted the photo on Weibo, saying that some Samsung China staff were kneeling down to their distributors, begging for more future orders from them. From the photo, it can be seen that some executives were forcibly pushed down by their colleagues. The blogger accused the South Korean executives of forcing the Chinese staff to kneel in an inhumane way.

Screenshot from Bulaode Laohui’s Weibo.

“Some South Korean executives of Samsung China were deeply moved, so they kneeled down to the distributors as a way of expressing thanks according to their South Korean etiquette. The Chinese executives kneeled down too, because they were also moved,” Samsung China told Chinese news website on Sunday.

In case you don’t know, to kneel down to someone has a totally different meaning in China. Most of the time, it would be taken as a way to show guilt, inferiority, submission and disgrace. That’s why the kneel-down incident has caused heated discussion in Weibo.

A guy named Pan Jiutang viewed this as a battle between local smartphone makers like Huawei, OPPO and vivo, versus the Korean Samsung. “There is really no need to show the whole world your superficial manic irrational populism in globalized social media,” he posted on Weibo.

Weibo user Xiaoxiong Nengneng thought that this action is against Chinese laws and a violation of the rights of their employees. He wrote, “In South Korean culture, executives would indeed kneel down, and they often do this in South Korea. But they don’t have the right to do this in China. They cannot force their Chinese executives and other staff to follow their customs.

“I’m not sure if these staff have retained their sense of dignity. Is it worth it? Have you ever kneeled down to your parents? What would they think if they know about this?”, a Weibo user named Huangyi Penzi asked.

Due to the many incidents of them exploding, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones have been banned on Chinese flights by Chinese authorities since last Thursday.

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