The Chinese livestreamer known as Three Thousand Brothers filmed himself participating in contests involving alcohol.
A social media influencer died shortly after live-streaming himself drinking several bottles of hard liquor on China’s version of TikTok, the country’s state-run media reported, in a development likely to renew debate about how to regulate the industry.
Influencer “Sanqiange” (or “Brother Three Thousand”) was found dead just hours after broadcasting himself participating in a competition with a fellow influencer that involved drinking Baijiu, a Chinese spirit with a typical alcohol content of between 30% to 60% , Shangyou News reported.
One of his friends told the outlet that Sanqiange – identified by his real-life surname Wang – took part in an online challenge known as “PK” against another influencer in the early hours of May 16 and the results were live-streamed on his Douyin channel.
“PK” challenges involve one-on-one matches where influencers compete against each other to win rewards and gifts from viewers, and often include penalties for defeated – apparently in this case, drinking Baijiu.
“I don’t know how much he drank before I focused. But in the last part of the video, I saw him finish three bottles before starting the fourth,” the friend, identified only as Zhao, told Shangyou News.
“The PK games ended around 1 am and by 1 pm, (when his family found him) he was gone,” he added.
Wang, described as a “decent and straightforward” person by Zhao, had a history of filming himself participating in similar contests involving alcohol and posting them on the app.
A video showing Wang participating in his final challenge went viral on Chinese social media, but is no longer available for viewing.
In recent years, the country’s burgeoning live-streaming scene has spawned a multibillion-dollar industry, where influencers with an entrepreneurial spirit compete to sell their products in real time on social media platforms.
Wang’s death is likely to add to a debate over regulation of the industry, which has drawn attention from authorities in recent years due to the lavish lifestyles of some streamers and the unsavory challenges they engage in.
Last year, the country’s broadcasting authorities banned youths under 16 from tipping streamers and restricted their access after 10pm.
China’s National Video and Television Administration and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism have also moved to ban “31 misconducts by livestreamers.”
Among those misconducts is “encouraging users to interact in vulgar ways or inciting fans to attack with rumours,” according to state media outlet Global Times.