'Anger release bars' all the rage in stressed-out China

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The Independent Online

Some go to bars to drink and to forget; others to socialise and hang out. But in the Chinese city of Nanjing, people are hitting the town to rage. A new bar is catering for angry customers who come specifically to beat up the waiting staff, smash glasses, shout and scream, and talk to a psychologist if they need some counselling.

Since April, the Rising Sun Anger Release Bar has provided an outlet for the stresses of modern life and it is a big hit in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province.

The Rising Sun employs 20 "models", all well-built men in their 20s and 30s, who are available to be hit. Customers decide what role they would like the models to play - they can even dress as women - and they can vent their anger on the models by giving them a beating.

And most of the customers are women, with a fair percentage of them working in the "service and entertainment" sector, such as karaoke or massage parlours, which are often fronts for brothels.

The Rising Sun was opened by Wu Gong, 29, who told the China Daily that his experiences as a migrant worker in Guangdong province had inspired him to offer this service. The Rising Sun also employs four counsellors.

The models are fully suited up with protective gear, and the bar gives them regular physical training. The bar charges between £3 and £20, depending on what a customer wants.

China does not seem to be an especially angry place and problems like road rage are much less common than in Britain. However, the rapid rise in wealth in China has brought with it deep social changes and many people feel alienated by the changes going on around them.

Chen Liang, a salesman, said he thought the bar was a great idea. "Pressure in today's society comes from just about anywhere," he said. "We get no place to vent anger. The idea of beating someone decorated as your boss seems attractive."

Zhang Yong, of the Xiaoran Psychological Consultation Centre, in Nanjing, said: "The existence of the bar, despite its controversial business scope, reflects the demands of a large proportion of people."

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