Binge drinking with your colleagues is becoming a social custom in China. Some job applications even ask, ‘how well can you hold your alcohol?’

Peter Chi knows he has to cut back on his drinking. It is not much fun at the best of times, and the worst have included hospitalisation – after drinking fake alcohol – and the numerous evenings where he has passed out at the table.

“No one likes binge drinking, but it’s not under your control,” he complains. “Of course I don’t like it, but there’s nothing I can do.”

Chi, from north-eastern Liaoning province, is not an alcoholic. Nor is he a party animal, despite his four-times-a-week binges. But as a respectable headteacher in his 40s, he feels he has little choice but to indulge – or risk harming his career. In the west, binge drinking is associated with young men and women spilling out of pubs and clubs in the early hours of the mornings. But in China drinkers are older and – in many cases – drinking not just for fun but for career reasons. Tania Branigan/The Guardian.

Image by myjedilightsaber via Flickr.

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