French-speaking man faints amid job-hunting TV show in China

Updated: 2012-05-28
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Read more on: Tianjin TV   Guo Jie   candidate faints on stage  
Tianjin TV issued a statement about its popular job-hunting program Feinimoshu (Only You), stressing its fairness and concern about disadvantaged groups as a response over public criticism about a recent episode in which a male candidate fainted on stage.

The statement issued on Thursday said that Only You is a real and fair job-hunting program, selecting candidates through a serious process and showing care for disadvantaged groups.

The announcement came after an incident in the episode broadcast on May 20. In the program, Guo Jie, a 32-year old graduate who returned to China three months ago after studying in France for 10 years, fainted on stage during a stern line of questioning by the panel of company executives.

This program attracted wide attention and criticism online from members of the public who said the panel and host, Zhang Shaogang, was too severe with the candidates.

Embarrassing situation

The audience had high expectations for Guo when the fashionable man took to the stage, saying he could speak fluent French with bachelor’s degrees in sociology and film, and a master’s degree in international tourism.

Wen Ji, one of the executives, asked him questions in French about well-known French sociologists and directors, but Guo stumbled and knew little about French films.

Hearing their dialogue, Zhang said, “I don’t want to initiate an anti-counterfeiting campaign on this stage.”

Wen then claimed that Guo’s claimed Bac+5 certificate was only at a junior college level after checking his three diplomas.

Following Wen’s accusation, Guo fainted on stage but quickly came around.

At that moment, Zhang, who was nearest to Guo, didn’t immediately go to his aid but asked him whether he was faking. After the program, Guo said publicly that he had felt under great pressure.

One day after the program, the French Embassy in China confirmed on its official Sina Weibo microblog that a Bac+5 definitely is a master’s degree.

Microblogger “Hujiang French” said the French dialogue between Guo and Wen indicated the two were both at the same level of French language proficiency, since Wen had made four mistakes, and Guo had made three mistakes.
Various speculations After the video was released on the Internet, various speculations began to spread.

Some suspected that Guo was a fake, some accused the program of hyping up the incident and of having executives with poor quality. They especially targeted Wen for her poor French and ignorance about college education in France.

"Guo must have been hired to do this, if not, why did the program staff not do background research in advance and only doubt him once he was on stage?” Yuanlai Youwang, a Web user said.

Wen responded to the accusations on her Sina Weibo on May 21, saying that Guo’s lack of fluency made her doubt he had a Bac+5 because she thought students with a Bac+5 were generally excellent.

Experts also criticized the program for not treating its candidates fairly.

The program should be a platform for the equal communication between candidates and the executives, but it is more concerned with ratings than improving the job market,” Xiong Bingqi, an education expert with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, told the Global Times.

"Guo wasn’t provided a relaxed environment to show his talent and might have been frightened when his French and degrees were doubted,” Xiong said.

The candidates might be not that outstanding, but should never be humiliated or unjustly treated by those interviewers or the host, who lack respect and care, Li Kaifu, the chairman and CEO of Innovation Works, said on his Sina Weibo.

Sources close to host Zhang have also hastened to pour cold water on rumors that he was colluding with Guo. “Zhang is a very sharp and straight teacher,” Li Hangwei, a senior at Communication University of China, where Zhang teaches, told the Global Times. “He is very strict and has high expectations of his students, so sometimes he might treat candidates on the show with the same style.”
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