Founder of Chinese education platform booed for rude behavior

The founder of a Chinese online education platform has come under fire after a viral article Monday accused him and his company of glorifying sexism and overwork.

The item, titled “Why Luo Zhenyu is Terrible,” was posted Monday on the social app WeChat. He accuses the founder of the educational platform, Luo, of calling women whores and defending the much-maligned “996” work schedule (9 am to 9 pm, six days a week). in Chinese startups and tech companies. In the past, Luo had described these grueling and illegal hours as “the fate of our generation”. The article has been viewed 100,000 times – the maximum number of WeChat views.

Luo’s business, a knowledge-based compensation platform called Dedao – which means “to get” or “to get” in Chinese – was launched in May 2016. Similar to the MasterClass instructional video series, Dedao invites experts from a wide range of professions to give online tutorials for people looking to hone a particular skill or quality.

The subjects of the videos, which range in price from 19.9 yuan to 365 yuan ($ 3 to $ 53), range from academics – psychology, politics, law and science – to the relatively large niche – improving sleep quality or cultivate a sense of humor. According to Monday’s article, Dedao’s bestseller, taught by a former economist at Peking University, has been purchased nearly half a million times.

As of May 2019, Dedao had nearly 30 million users, according to in Luo.

Xiaohun, the online commentator who wrote the viral article, objected to Luo’s behavior in the popular “I Can I BB” online talk series, in which he participates regularly. Xiaohun described Luo as “someone who would try anything to achieve his own goals” because of how he allegedly promoted his business at every opportunity during the show – and because he seemed to be giving preferential treatment. to his cash cow economist by saving one of his teammates from elimination.

The article also castigates Luo’s misogynistic personal motto: “If you want to rob someone, rob the emperor. If you want to prostitute yourself, find the emperor’s wives. The saying, which Luo says he picked up in his hometown in Eastern Anhui Province, means strive for the best in whatever you do. Luo is apparently so strong about it that he once said during a maintenance he had called his office the “Imperial Concubine’s Headquarters,” with the corresponding Chinese characters affixed to a wall.

When asked about the article, a public relations representative for Luo said it contained “a lot of the author’s personal emotions.” “We can only hope that the people who love Luo will appreciate him more and those who hate him maybe love him one day,” she told Sixth Tone.

Luo ruffled the feathers again in a November episode of “I Can I BB” which debated whether an employee at a company with a 996 work schedule should stay or leave. In his argument for the “stay” team, he called overwork “the fate of our generation”.

Luo is not the first boss of a large company to gain employee loyalty in the form of overtime. Former Alibaba boss Jack Ma said at a wedding toast in May that his company embraces “the spirit of 996”, and public relations director of JD.com, the other Chinese giant of e-commerce, issued a statement in March denying the company was enforcing 12-hour shifts. However, Luo’s advocacy for a demanding work culture seems to particularly irritate his enemies, as he runs a knowledge-sharing platform rather than a startup in the fiercest tech industry.

“Under the emphasis on knowledge, Luo is actually exploiting his employees like a capitalist,” wrote a Weibo user.

Luo’s PR representative told Sixth Tone that Luo plans to respond to his criticisms in a future episode of “I Can I BB.”

Publisher: David Paulk.

(Header image: Luo Zhenyu, the founder of the online education platform Dedao, delivers a speech on New Years Eve in Shanghai, December 31, 2019. @ 罗振宇 on Weibo)


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