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    Chinese Company Apologizes for Asking Workers to Commit for Life

    Beverage brand Coconut Palm wanted potential hires to agree to work for the company for the rest of their lives, putting up property deeds as collateral.

    China’s leading brand of coconut milk has apologized for a recruitment ad calling for a lifetime contract for new hires.

    In a statement Thursday, Yeshu Group — also known as Coconut Palm — apologized for “lax review of the notice and improper wording.” Earlier this week, the company had announced vacancies but said it would require aspiring employees to sign on the dotted line for life — and even require them to turn over deeds to their properties as a guarantee that they’d stick to their word, according to media reports.

    In its now-deleted recruitment notice, Coconut Palm said it was looking for 40 new hires to join its “Yeshu managers training academy.” The document added that the property deed requirement was aimed at deterring job-hopping.

    Coconut Palm’s demands angered many online, with a related hashtag on microblogging platform Weibo receiving more than 350 million views as of Friday afternoon.

    Legal experts say Coconut Palm’s hiring notice likely violated China’s labor law.

    Bai Xiangfei, a lawyer with Shanghai Hanshang Law Offices, told Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper that under the labor law, companies cannot seize properties or demand guarantees from their employees.

    “The company’s behavior is more like a gimmicky recruitment promotion rather than a serious announcement for hiring talent,” Bai said.

    This is not the first time Coconut Palm has landed in hot water because of sensational promotions. In February of last year, authorities in the southern Hainan province, where Coconut Palm is headquartered, probed the company for “false and vulgar advertising” after it claiming its coconut milk product could enlarge women’s breasts — a dubious side effect Coconut Palm has touted for years.

    Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

    (Header image: A worker walks by Coconut Palm facilities in Haikou, Hainan province, May 20, 2020. People Visual)