Chinese live streamer Brother Three Thousand had previously filmed himself participating in competitions involving alcohol.
A social media influencer died shortly after live-streaming himself drinking several bottles of strong alcohol on the Chinese version of TikTok, state media in the country report, in a development likely to renew debate over how the industry should be regulated .
The influencer “Sanqiange” (or “Brother Three Thousand”) was found dead just hours after sending himself out when he took part in a competition with a fellow influencer that involved drinking Baijiu, a Chinese liquor with a typical alcohol content between 30% and 60%, Shangyou News reported.
One of his friends told the outlet that Sanqiange — identified by his real surname Wang — had taken part in an online challenge known as “PK” against another influencer in the early hours of May 16 and live-streamed the results on his Douyin -channel.
“PK” challenges include one-on-one battles in which influencers compete with each other to win rewards and gifts from viewers, and often involve punishments for the loser – apparently drinking Baijiu in this case.
“I don’t know how much he drank before I tuned in. But in the last part of the video, I saw him finish three bottles before starting a fourth,” the friend, identified only as Zhao, told Shangyou News.
“The PK games ended around 1 a.m. and by 1 p.m. (when his family found him) he was gone,” he added.
Wang, described by Zhao as a “decent and straightforward” person, had a history of filming himself participating in similar competitions involving alcohol and posting it on the app.
A video that appeared to show Wang taking part in his latest challenge went viral on Chinese social media, but is no longer available for viewing.
In recent years, the country’s thriving live-streaming scene has spawned a multibillion-dollar industry, in which 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 industry regulation that has drawn the attention of authorities in recent years due to the lavish lifestyles of some streamers and the unusual challenges they participate in.
Last year, the country’s broadcasting authorities banned young people under the age of 16 from tipping streamers and restricted their access after 10 p.m.
China’s National Video and Television Administration and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism have also taken steps to ban “31 misconduct by live streamers.”
Among those misconducts are “encouraging users to communicate in vulgar ways or inciting fans to attack with rumors,” according to the state media outlet Global Times.