If a Co. makes this sort of record-keeping minutia the focus of employment then that's what they'll get. Focus on productivity and reliable, innovative products and that's what you'll get. Hard to manage the second type, but I've sure known quickly when it wasn't there.
This is an outrage to any worker, even in the most low level of society, if social differences could be tolerated in decent societies! This is some brutal behaviour only the chinese can come to. You chinese patrons go regulate the times for the turtles of your own mothers!
I once had to use a plant bathroom at a plant in Donguang city, in China. It was one of those "squat over a trench" types, although it did have toilet paper. Pretty nasty by US standards, though. I can imagine that nobody would choose to spend time in there.
At the better jobs that I have had, as long as the work got done correctly and on time there were no challenges about working hours. At another job we had to sign in and out in a notebook. So each Monday we would fill in our hours for the week, and then we would come and go according to what we had signed. After a few weeks the notebook was removed. We never cheated, but we were salaried, not hourly.
As a "kid" I worked at a rather large (now) company that I shan't name (it begins with Anal and ends with logic). They had the strictest policy regarding time that I have ever experienced (HP was close). You had to punch in one minute early, punch in and out for breaks, lunch, almost to the second (try that with an entire dept. trying to use the clock at the same time). The second day on the job the bell rang for break. I was literally in the middle of soldering a resistor in a hybrid module when someone tapped me on the shoulder and said "Stop what you're doing, its break". I continued soldering (how can you stop in the middle of soldering a joint?) and the next person tapped me on the shoulder. It turns out that no matter what you are doing, when the bell rings you stop, no exceptions. All hell would break loose if you didn't. This job lasted about two weeks before I couldn't take it anymore and had to leave. When I ran my own company I had major holidays off and three weeks during the year of "off time". It wasn't sick time, it wasn't vacation; I didn't care how you used it. Those that had command of themselves loved it; those that couldn't were asked to not come back. You'd be surprised at how responsible people seem to "just show up on time, put in a good day, and go home" when no one is watching every thing they do.
I worked for a strict boss like that at one time. His big thing was that I had to call over and announce my arrival no later than 8:30. I eventually gave up trying to appease him because there was never any consideration when I would stay (sometimes hours) beyond the quitting time. Needless to say, when I quit there was a huge turnover because of the exact same issue.
Some managers feel that they are the only ones capable of making decisions and anyone they manage is subject to their whim. I applaud those workers in Shanghai for taking a stand ... your workplace should never imitate a prision
Seems inexcusable that such ridiculous rules would be company policy. We did have a manager years ago, who took it upon himself to be a colossal nuisance, but that was an isolated case. He too would worry about the length of bathroom breaks, about whether an engineer might have taken a break to get a haircut, things along those lines. Of course, this is not aseembly line work, so that does make a difference. It didn't seem to phase him that everyone works more than the strict 8 hour day. He still behaved as if all engineers want to do is to cheat the company.
Finally, his utterly ineffective superior retired, the new guy got wind of this manager's rules, and put an end to them. And he was never promoted.