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Yangzhou Man Found Dead after Drinking, Friends Pay 1 Million RMB Settlement

Is Chinese drinking culture to blame for deaths related to alcohol?

Chauncey Jung

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The recent death of a 30-year-old Chinese man at the Jing Hua Metropark Hotel (京华维景酒店) in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, has triggered discussions on Weibo.

On Friday, May 19, the man was discovered in his hotel room bathtub by his friends. The following day, Yangzhou Police officially confirmed the man’s death, China News reports.

The man, who was from the nearby Gaoyou County, allegedly died of a heart attack after drinking during a formal dinner with friends at the hotel.

Local media later reported that the friends present during the night reached a 1 million yuan (±US$157,000) settlement with the man’s family. The cost of the settlement will be shared among the friends who were drinking that night.

In February of this year, two similar stories made headlines in China. In one case, a young migrant worker died after excessive drinking at a company lunch and dinner in southern China.

The man, according to SCMP, drank the equivalent of 600ml of baijiu (白酒), a popular spirit that contains around 50% alcohol.

The other case involved a man who died when he was left by his friends at a hotel in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, after heavily drinking at a banquet.

Surveillance cameras in Jinhua captured how the man was unable to stand or walk after drinking with his friends.

Those friends also paid a compensation together of 610,000 yuan (US$96,000) to the man’s family.

Earlier this month, organisers of an alcohol drinking contest in Henan province were also ordered to pay a compensation of over US$70,000 after one participant died due to excessive alcohol intake in July of last year.

 

“We’d better bring our medical records before drinking with friends.”

 

The most recent 1 million yuan settlement became a heated topic on Weibo, where one commenter stated that perhaps it is time to sign a legal waiver with all friends who drink together before they become legally responsible for potential settlement costs.

Another commenter suggested that alcohol manufacturers should be responsible for such deaths. The majority of the commenters, however, blamed Chinese drinking culture (中国酒桌文化) for these incidents.

In the Chinese traditional drinking culture, people are usually encouraged to drink as much as they can, or to exceed their limits; the goal sometimes is to literally “take someone to the ground by drinking.”

When someone proposes a toast, everyone at the table is required to finish their glasses, sometimes at a very high pace.

Since Chinese drinking culture usually involves drinks with a high alcohol percentage, such as the aforementioned baijiu, heavy drinkers have a higher risk of alcohol poisoning.

Despite some claiming that the ‘long, traditional’ drinking culture is meant to strengthen people’s relations, critics argue that China’s coercive drinking culture is a toxic practice that is harmful to people’s health.

The pressure to drink sometimes goes beyond friendly relations, as those who decline a drink can be verbally attacked or looked down on by others participating in the event.

Especially during formal business dinners, the amount of alcohol one can drink is taken as a sign of their strength of character or abilities; those who can consume the most are regarded as the best candidates and may receive financial benefits or better business relations with others because of it.

“It would be better for us to bring medical records with us before we started drinking with friends,” one Weibo netizen jokingly comments.

“It’s good they have to pay compensation [to the family],” another person writes: “This might put an end to the Chinese drinking culture where people are basically forced to drink alcohol.”

By Chauncey Jung

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2018 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Chauncey Jung is a China internet specialist who who previously worked for various Chinese internet companies in Beijing. Jung completed his BA and MA education in Canada (Univ. of Toronto & Queen's), and has a strong interest in Chinese trends, technology, economic developments and social issues.

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China Brands & Marketing

Young Chinese Woman Dies at Haidilao Hotpot Restaurant

The woman allegedly choked while having beef tripe.

Manya Koetse

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On September 8, a woman from Putian in Fujian Province unexpectedly passed away while having hotpot at a Haidilao restaurant in a local mall.

The incident went trending on Chinese social media on Thursday, with the hashtags “Woman Suddenly Passes Away While Having Haidilao Hotpot” (#女孩海底捞吃火锅意外身亡#) and “Haidilao Responds to Female Customer Passing Away During Dinner” (#海底捞回应女顾客就餐时身亡#) receiving 50 million and 300 million views respectively.

According to various Chinese news reports, the 21-year-old woman had just finished eating beef tripe, the edible lining from the cow stomach, and drank some water after which she suddenly became unwell.

Footage circulating on Chinese social media shows how restaurant staff gave first aid to the woman by performing the Heimlich maneuver while emergency workers were underway.

Although it is rumored the young woman choked on the tripe, this has not yet been confirmed as an investigation into the cause of death is ongoing. The Haidilao restaurant where the incident happened is currently closed, and Haidilao responded that they are deeply saddened and will do all they can to fully cooperate with the police to investigate the case.

Haidilao (海底捞) is one of China’s most popular restaurant chains serving authentic Sichuan hotpot, a dining style where fresh meat and vegetables are dipped in simmering broth. Besides its tasty hotpot and wide selection of ingredients and drinks, Haidilao is known for its high-quality service. The staff is thoroughly trained in providing the best customer service, and Haidilao has introduced new concepts throughout the years to enhance the customer experience.

Haidilao is a very reputable company and is known to respond quickly to avert social media crises (example here and here).

As the story goes trending, many Chinese netizens point out the choking hazard of beef tripe. One lung doctor (@呼吸科大夫胡洋) also responded to the incident, suggesting that the Heimlich maneuver might not have been life-saving in this case since beef tripe is long and soft and could block the respiratory tract if the Heimlich maneuver is performed while the person is standing up, since it could potentially cause the tripe to go deeper instead of being pushed out.

The doctor recommends in these kind of emergency situations that if possible, for a chance of survival, the person could then be placed into an upside down, upper body down position for the Heimlich maneuver.

Other doctors on Weibo also use this moment to provide more information about how to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

Many online commenters think Haidilao is not necessarily to blame for what happened. “Judging from the video, the staff was quick and correct in their response. As for why the woman could not have been rescued, we’ll have to wait for the final reports.”

By Manya Koetse 

 

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China Brands & Marketing

Bubble Tea Madness: ‘Modern China Tea Shop’ Opening Creates Chaos in Nanjing

This bubble tea shop’s Nanjing opening got so crazy that police had to intervene and scalpers were reselling tea for 200 yuan ($30) per cup.

Manya Koetse

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Despite the blistering heat, Chinese bubble tea lovers lined up for the opening of a new Nanjing milk tea shop as early as 4 am. By 11 am, police discouraged people from coming to the area and the shop had to close its doors. The hype surrounding the opening shows the popularity of bubble tea and domestic brands in China.

The opening of a Modern China Tea Shop branch in Nanjing was much-anticipated, but it only lasted for about thirty minutes. So many people had come to the bubble tea shop’s opening at the Jingfeng Center (景枫中心) that the situation was out of control and the shop had to close its doors again.

The Modern China Tea Shop, known as Chayan Yuese (茶颜悦色) in China, was established in 2013 and is headquartered in Changsha. They call themselves a “creative milk tea store,” meaning they mostly sell desserts and milk tea or bubble tea, which has become very popular among mainland Chinese consumers over the past few years.

Milk tea products by Chayan Yuese.

Pearl milk tea or bubble tea was first invented in Taiwan in 1988. Most pearl milk tea products contain an iced tea base and milk, with chewy tapioca pearls and sugar. Although this is a standard recipe, China’s many bubble milk tea shops and chains now also have a growing selection of fruit-flavored bubble tea or chocolate-flavored bubble tea. Since milk tea came to the mainland market in 1996, it has beaten coffee as a drink in terms of popularity (read more here).

Through its logo and marketing style, Chayan Yuese or Modern China Tea Shop positions itself as an authentic mainland Chinese business, stressing Chinese traditional style and history. In an era of ‘China Chic‘, this clearly resonates with consumers.

Chayan Yuese uses traditional Chinese illustrations and stories on its products.

Earlier this week, the popular Modern China Tea Shop announced its upcoming Nanjing debut on social media. Many people already came to the mall in the early morning hours, starting at 4 am, to be among the first customers waiting in front of the shop, but the line got so out of hand that the entire area inside and outside the mall became blocked.

Chinese media outlet The Paper writes that local police issued a notice on Thursday morning to discourage more people from coming to the area since there were already too many people at the scene.

Due to the crowds and the blistering heat, Nanjing police sent out a team of officers to the tea shop to maintain order.

Meanwhile, some sellers were offering their services on WeChat or platforms such as Xianyu to stand in line and buy milk tea for others. The hype was so big that they could charge 200 yuan (nearly $30) to get their customers one cup of tea. Modern China Tea Shop later said they did not support such practices.

The shop was officially scheduled to be open from 9 am to 10 pm, but at 9.30 am, the doors had closed again, with a notice saying the store was “sold out” and would be closed for the day.

On social media, some commenters were confused about the long queues. “The only way I’d queue up like this is to get my nucleic acid test,” one commenter wrote, while others also wondered why people would be willing to gather in crowds like this in the Covid era. “Don’t you have to work?” some wrote.

The unusual situation also raised suspicions about Chayan Yuese hiring people to stand in line to increase the hype surrounding their opening, with some sources alleging that the store did in fact recruit people to stand in line for a payment of $10.

“I would only stand in line for a drink at 4 am if it’s an elixir of immortality,” one Weibo user wrote.

By Manya Koetse and Miranda Barnes

 

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©2022 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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