A video featuring a man hitting eight employees of a bank with a stick in rural China was published on the state-run media organization People's Daily early Tuesday. The four men and four women being hit were being punished for poor performance.

The video, shot Saturday, shows trainer Jiang Yang at a training session for more than 200 employees at Changzhi Zhangze Rural Commercial Bank in northern China. It was recorded on a cellphone by a member of the audience and has been widely shared on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, since Sunday, reports say.

It features Yang spanking each employee four times with a stick in front of an audience. One woman was thrown off balance after being hit. Reports say that Yang later shaved the heads of the men and cut the women’s hair.

“Spanking was a training model I have been exploring for many years,” Yang reportedly said on his microblog.

In an online statement on Monday, the oversight body Shanxi Provincial Rural Credit Cooperatives Union called the training “improper” and has set up a committee to look into the incident. It had also suspended the bank’s chairman and a deputy governor and told Yang to issue a public apology.

Yang issued a video apology absolving the leaders at the bank of any responsibility for the incident. He said that the hitting had “nothing to do” with the bank leaders.