Ridiculing of a job applicant by CCTV moderator Zhang Shaogang on TV show draws nationwide criticism

Updated:Sat, Jan 14, 2012 08:53 AM   By Bernd Chang

Zhang Shaogang,Liu Lili

Job applicant and Haigui Liu Lili was challenged, questioned, criticized by well-known CCTV moderator Zhang Shaogangand and the invited CEOs during the TV show Belong to you.

24 years old Haigui Liu Lili wanted to find a job through TV program. During the TV show presided by well-known CCTV moderator Zhang Shaogang, Liu Lili was challenged, questioned, criticized publicly by Zhang and the invited CEOs. Chinese netizens overwhelmingly support Liu and criticize Zhang and the employers.

 

January 13, 2012, Tianjin - A video clip that lasts for 16 minutes has been wildly circulated throughout internet of China. In the video, 24 years old girl Liu Lili returned to China after studying in New Zealand for three years and wanted to find a job as editor in a magazine through the TV program Belong to you (非你莫属). During the TV show presided by well-known former CCTV moderator Zhang Shaogang (张绍刚), Liu Lili(刘俐俐) was challenged, questioned, ridiculed, criticized publicly by Zhang and the invited employers. Liu was described as “showing contempt for others, having inappropriate attitude, intending to attack and ridicule, delivering fiendish glare, smiling wildly and coquettishly”.

The job application proved in the end to be a failure for Miss Liu. All the light was turned off for her, which means none of the CEO would consider recruiting her.

The video clips quickly becomes hot on Chinese internet and there is one-sided support for the 24 years old returnee Liu Lili among the Chinese netizens. Even some celebrities including former GOOGLE China executive kaifu Lee, Actress Yao Chen, Actor Wen Zhang, Enterpreneur Hung Huang, Xu Xiaoping etc. have showed up to support Liu through their Weibo (Chinese Twitter) accounts. Meanwhile Moderator Zhang Shaogang has been widely criticized by Chinese netizens as narrow-minded, impolite, bitterly sarcastic.

Who attacked whom?

Belong to you(非你莫属), presided by former CCTV moderator Zhang Shaogang, is a job application TV program of Tianjin Satellite TV Station and is broadcasted nationwide at 21:15 on every Sunday. This video clip begins with self introduction of Liu Lili. 24 years old Liu Lili is a Haigui (海归), or returned Chinese that have studied in abroad, from New Zealand. She wanted to find a job as editor for a magazine. Liu Lili first introduced herself “I am 80s, I like to appreciate the beauty of mine, but I more like Shakespeare.” Zhang stepped on the stage and asked her what in Shakespeare Liu liked. Liu said that was Heroic Couplet. It seemed that Zhang did not know what is Heroic Couplet. After Liu Lili corrected what Zhang said and added “few people ever read heroic couplet”, Zhang appeared to feel uncomfortable. Zhang then changed his attitude from leading to ridiculing. To the question why she returned to China to continue her study in a university (instead of staying abroad), Liu Lili said “I stay in New Zealand for three years and I find that China has changed a lot. If I would remain in New Zealand I would become stupid”. Zhang suddenly interrupted her and said “Why I feel cold from time to time when I communicate with you” and he expressed that he could not understand why Liu Lili, as a Chinese, would call the motherland as China. Liu Lili then responded with an ask “So when you speak to others you mention our country as my motherland”? Zhang said “I always say we here”. Liu Lili then said “I think this stage is a formal place and I should use formal language and this is the reason when I address you I use honorific Nin(您) instead of Ni(你)”.

Then the communication between Zhang and Liu became more and more sharp-pionting. Zhang Shaogang explicitly reproved Liu that Liu had used aggressive language. Liu Lili denied and said that it was Zhang that intended to attack. Then it was time for the invited guests and employers to express their viewpoints. Almost all of them criticized Liu in aspects from her studying abroad experience, attitude, gestures on the stage, salary criteria, and to her family background. They described Liu Lili “face expression is exaggerated, mental quality is weak”. When Liu Lili tried to smile, moderator Zhang called her smile as “狂浪 or wild and coquettish”.

Chinese netizens show overwhelming support for Liu Lili

In sharp contrast to the remarks of the moderator and the CEOs, Chinese netizens overwhelmingly think that the young girl is very smart, humorous, polite, and having strong personality and that they can not understand at all why the moderator and guests all together attacks a young girl in such a publicly broadcasting TV program. And most of the criticism goes to the former CCTV moderator Zhang Shaogang.

Following are some of the comments:

“The moderator obviously showed his prejudice and the guests gathered together to stir up trouble.”

“Zhang Shaogang felt uncomfortable after reading minutes long advertisement and even worse when he was questioned by a young girl, then he could not maintain his balance.”

“Zhang felt losing face when questioned by a young lady and could not hold his temper.”.

“The moderator was actually hardly qualified and showed too strong subjective color, obviously he wanted to black the job applicant. And the low level employers did not hesitate to cooperate with the moderator. It was laughable.”

"Leaded by an idiot moderator, a bang of middle-aged Naocan (脑残, brain-disabled) publicly insulted and belittled an innocent 24 years old jobseeking girl on TV program. Is this our civilization? They could treat a young girl in such a way! To the guy who claimed having stayed abroad for 15 years and used this claim to weigh down the girl that stays abroad for 3 years, I would like to say that if you bring a donkey to Harvard, it will still be a donkey, and even not become a horse, when it comes back after staying in Harvard for 15 years". Hung Huang, CEO of China Interactive Media Group.

“That the moderator ridiculed and made unwarranted charges at an innocent girl make this program be covered with shame”, Xu Xiaoping, co-founder of Xindongfang School.

“The design of the program is problematic: 1) the moderator without management experience is not qualified as the chief interviewer, 2) One of tow guests are required to raise fault-finding questions,3) Cropping the video to frame up the job applicant”. Kaifu Lee, former executive of Google China.

“How to contact the girl? She is welcome to join our team”. Yao Chen, Chinese actress.

Part of the dialogue

Zhang(Shaogang): what in Shakespeare do you like?

Liu (Lili): I like his heroic couplet.

Zhang: You said Shakespeare created a literary form called heroic couplet?

Liu: No. It was not created by Shakespeare. I said he once wrote this style of literature, only that few people have ever read it.

Liu: I stayed in New Zealand for three years. When I came back I find that China has changed a lot. If I should keep staying in New Zealand I would end up to be a fool.

Zhang: Wait! Why I feel cold from time to time when I talk with you. This is our own country. Is it necessary to call her with capitalization when we stay in our own country?

Liu: So when you talk with others you always address our country as my motherland? my motherland is also a capitalization.

Zhang: I say 我们这儿 (we here)!

Liu: I thought on this stage I should use formal language, this is the reason why I use the honorifics and I address you with Nin when I speak to you.

Zhang: Your communication style makes me feel cold again.

….

Zhang: Why did you choose to major in English when you came back from New Zealand? Since you were already good at English.

Liu: So why should we Chinese learn Yuwen (Textbook of Chinese)?

Zhang: I do not know it is because you do not understand my communication style or my questions hurt you, you become aggressive. 

Liu: Mister, I think it is not me but you that are aggressive.

Zhang: what is your advantage?

Liu: I am good at writing and my brain works quickly.

Zhang: How to testify that you are good at writing.

Liu: You can just make an examination paper and let me to do the exam.

Zhang: How to testify that your brain works quickly.

Liu: My brain worked quickly a moment ago (in responding to your questions). 

Zhang: I seldom lose my interest completely in a job applicant (as you).

Zhang: Liu Lili, I find you eyes reveal your hate, ridicule and wink malevolently when whoever raises question about your remarks.

Guest: I give you a suggestion. How about smiling for a while and do not radiate malevolent wink. 

Liu: (Smile and laugh)

Zhang: Stop! Please tell us what do you think is so laughable?

Liu: No. I smile just when he tells me to do so. 

Zhang: Just now you delivered a malevolent wink, and now you are laughing so 狂浪 (wildly and coquettishly).

Guest Chen Ou: Lili, I think sometimes you seem to be a hedgehog, when others touch you, you immediately arm and protect yourself like a hedgehog. I would like to know of your family. Could I know something about your family?

Liu: Sure, my parents are alive.

Zhang: Chen Ou has never attacked you so far, right?

Chen Ou: I am innocent, I am kind-hearted.

Zhang: Chen Ou just asked whether you can tell something about your parents, but you just shrugged and said my parents are alive.

Liu: Isn’t it a kind of humor? I have no other intentions at all.

...

Zhang Shaogang will not change his style of moderation

Contacted yesterday by a reporter, Zhang Shaogang said he did not remember the details because the program was recorded one month ago. For the controversy, Zhang said it was normal to read many kind of viewpoints. To the reason why this video was so hotly debated, Zhang thought "Perhaps the viewers consider themselves as the job applicant and think when they encounter such situation they will also get mad". To the remark that the moderator's attitude affected the decision of the invited employers, Zhang thought the CEOs had their own independent determination. Zhang added "Compared to general way of job application, from the job application through TV program, more personal character can be dug out. During the process I as a moderator can find out something and I will speak out to remind the job applicant, which is helpful for them. If my way of speaking out is viewed as unpleasant, I can only say that I am sorry to let you have such a feeling." Zhang insisted that he would not change his style of moderating a TV program and this incident would not affect him. When asked what he wanted to speak to Liu Lili, Zhang evaded the question.

It is said that Tianjin Satellite TV will broadcast the entire episode regarding Liu Lili's participation in the Belong to you program. Netizens will have chance to see more of the actual communication situation between the two sides.

 

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Past coverage about: Zhang Shaogang   Liu Lili   Haigui   CCTV moderator   Belong to you   海归   刘俐俐   张绍刚  

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