JIANGSU, CHINA – An influencer on Chinese short video platform Douyin has died less than 12 hours after he was livestreamed drinking four bottles of Chinese baijiu, a clear liquor with a very high alcohol content.
34-year-old Wang Moufeng, known on the podium as “Sanqiange” or “Brother 3000,” reportedly began a drinking challenge at around 1 a.m. last Tuesday (May 16) on the live broadcast.
He was found dead at a friend’s house at 1 p.m. that same day.
Last Saturday, Shangyou News confirmed that Wang died from excessive drinking and was cremated in the morning.
The case has sparked widespread interest in China, prompting consideration of the ethics of allowing extreme behavior such as self-abuse on live-streaming platforms as online personalities scramble to attract larger audiences.
how much did he drink
Though Wang’s original livestream, reposts, and most of his social media accounts have since been deleted, numerous local media reports state that the influencer drank “at least four bottles” of baijiu during his livestream.
However, it’s possible that Wang drank up to seven bottles of the liquor, which typically contains between 35 and 60 percent alcohol by volume. In comparison, rum and vodka contain about 40 percent alcohol.
A good friend of Wang’s, known as Mr. Zhao, told Shangyou News, “He only did PK.”
The term “PK” is an online gaming acronym for “Player Kill”. In China, it is often used as a colloquial term to denote a showdown or fight between multiple parties, similar to the word “versus” in English.
Another streamer named “Grandpa Ming” started his own live stream last Saturday afternoon, detailing Wang’s “PK” or live drinking challenge.
“He played a total of four rounds of PK,” Grandpa Ming said. “He drank one on the first lap. In the second round he drank two plus three Red Bulls.”
“He didn’t lose in the third round. In the fourth round he drank four.”
“In total he drank seven (Baijiu) and three Red Bulls.”
It is unclear what units of measurement Grandpa Ming was referring to. However, Mr. Zhao, who said he watched the end of the live stream, seemed to imply that Wang was drinking baijiu directly from 500ml bottles.
Mr. Zhao said, “I don’t know how much he drank before, but in the later part of the video, I saw him drinking about four jin (2 kg).”
“First he drank three bottles without throwing up, and then he drank the fourth bottle…”
According to Grandpa Ming’s account, Mr. Zhao would have seen the last round of Wang’s challenge.
Shangyou News also stated that a viral clip of that final round showed that Wang was “obviously a little unwell” after the first three bottles.
But instead of pausing, he simply pointed at the camera and said, “I choose my fate, not the sky,” before draining the last bottle.
“NO CHANCE OF SALVATION”: FRIEND
Last Sunday, several unnamed sources claiming to be Wang’s former friends and classmates told Jimu News that Wang left behind an elderly and ailing father and a teenage daughter.
But Wang is used to drinking alone, Mr. Zhao said, and this time is no different.
His friends called him a “very good person” who was easygoing and always made people happy. He attracted fans because he was honest and not cheating about drinking during his live broadcasts, but friends had reportedly urged him to cut down on his drinking.
Mr. Zhao shared, “Lately (Wang) hasn’t been drinking. When he has nothing to do, he just plays mahjong with his classmates and stays healthy.”
“He was already trying to drink as little as possible, I don’t know why he started drinking again on the 16th.”
Media outlet Red Star Video reported Tuesday that late at night on May 15, Wang borrowed a neighbor’s room to broadcast his livestream. According to Jimu News, this neighbor is one of his former classmates.
The next day, the neighbor opened the door to find him lying face down and motionless.
The incident took place at a private home in Qidaogou Village, Guanyun County, Lianyungang City, Jiangsu Province.
Mr. Lin, the director of the village committee, said that According to media reports, the house was a little over 100 meters from Wang’s own home, where he lived alone.
“He was always like that,” Mr. Zhao added. “He can’t keep people around. When people are by his side, he can’t help but scold them.”
“When (his) family found him that afternoon, he was already dead. There wasn’t even a chance of rescue.”
However, Wang’s family members were not present at his funeral last Saturday. According to Mr. Zhao, they were all “very sad” and refused to participate.
Also absent: The contestant or contestants who competed in the fatal PK with Wang. There is currently no information on how many other parties were involved and who they were.
Mr. Zhao commented, “The person is already dead and you still don’t come.”
WHO’S TO BLAME?
Since the news broke last Saturday, the hashtag #网红三千哥直播PK喝酒身亡# (“Internet Celebrity Sanqiange Livestreams PK, Drinks and Dies”) has garnered 7.6 million views on Chinese microblogging site Weibo .
Similar older videos, in which Wang sips multiple bottles of baijiu in a row, have also resurfaced, reigniting a debate about the ethics of live streaming and social media platforms.
In recent years, the rise of live-streaming in China has prompted more and more acts of self-abuse — overeating or drinking, high-altitude parkour, and even self-mutilation — to gain viewers’ attention and engagement.
While many netizens felt the streamer “deserved it” for their irresponsible actions, others felt it was “obviously the platform’s responsibility” to moderate or prevent such content.
A top comment on Weibo read, “Although the alcohol was drunk by himself and not poured (down his throat) by others, I think it was that era of abnormal development and self-expression that indirectly killed him.”
“Shouldn’t the platform intervene immediately in such a life-threatening live transmission room?”
According to Douyin’s live streaming code of conduct, drinking alcohol during a live broadcast is a “level three violation.”
This gives the platform the right to issue warnings, halt broadcasts, or suspend the streamer’s broadcasting permission for one to seven days. The platform may also impose restrictions on other account permissions and functions during this period.
However, several Weibo users claimed that Wang’s original stream “was blocked as soon as (a drinking scene) came out.” Instead, the streamer reached out to other accounts to continue broadcasting live drinking and “waged a guerrilla war” with those trying to report him.
“For someone who wants to die like that, you can’t really blame the platform,” reads another top post under the hashtag. “All other things aside, death from alcohol is fully deserved with its (rapid-fire) drinking method.”
Still others felt that the entire phenomenon of social media and live streaming has not only deadened content creators like Wang to such dangerous acts, but their viewers as well.
As one Weibo user put it, “Viewers are immoral, and those who live stream the drinking are immoral too.”
At times, more than a hundred viewers are said to have seen Wang’s stream. But none of them raised concerns in the live chat.