Man in China dies after downing a litre of liquor to win $3,800 at company dinner

Man in China dies after downing a litre of liquor to win $3,800 at company dinner
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In his bid to earn a cash prize from his boss, a man in Shenzhen, China, lost his life after downing a litre of liquor during a company dinner.

The victim surnamed Zhang attended his company's team-bonding dinner on July 15, where he was challenged to a drinking contest by his boss, Yang, Chinese media reported.

Yang had suggested a drinking competition and offered 20,000 yuan (S$3,800) prize money to anyone who could outdrink Zhang. 

"After Zhang gave his toast at Yang's table, the latter openly proposed a reward of 5,000 yuan to anyone who could drink more than him," one of Zhang's colleagues told the media. 

When no one responded to the offer, the boss raised the amount to 10,000 yuan. 

Zhang then asked about the stakes if he won the contest and Yang told him he would be awarded 20,000 yuan.

"If he lost, however, he would have to pay 10,000 yuan to treat the whole company to afternoon tea," said the colleague. 

Yang later chose several employees, including his own driver, to compete against Zhang.

Falling into a coma

According to one of the employees who was at the dinner, Zhang downed a litre of baiju — a Chinese liquor with alcohol content ranging between 35 and 65 per cent — within 10 minutes. 

He subsequently collapsed and was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with severe alcohol poisoning, aspiration pneumonia, suffocation and cardiac arrest, reported the South China Morning Post. 

Despite doctors' best efforts, Zhang died on Aug 3.

Following Zhang's death, a representative announced in the company's WeChat group that the company would be closed down. 

"The company is currently actively dealing with the emergencies that occurred yesterday," the message stated. 

In addition, the other participants of the drinking contest also received 2,222 yuan from Yang. 

Chinese media reports state that Shenzhen police are investigating the incident.

News of Zhang's death shocked netizens, who began criticising China's workplace drinking culture.

"In many parts of our country a culture still exists where, during feasts or dinners, if a guest doesn't drink or drinks too little, it is perceived as a lack of hospitality or a loss of face," one commented.

"When will this harmful tradition of forcing people to drink change?"

Drinking to death

This is one of the latest incidents where people lost their lives to alcohol poisoning.

Earlier this year, a Chinese livestreamer died after drinking too much alcohol during an online drinking battle

The 27-year-old livestreamer's wife, surnamed Li, told Chinese media that her husband, known as Zhong Yuan Huang Ge or Brother Huang from the Central Plains, died from excessive alcohol consumption on June 2. 

Li said her husband was livestreaming to earn money so that he could repay off his debts, which added up to hundreds of thousands of yuan. 

According to Chinese media reports, Huang would livestream himself drinking, cracking walnuts with his head and opening durians with his bare hands.

At the time of his death, Huang had amassed a following of 176,000. 

ALSO READ: Chinese livestreamer dies after downing too much alcohol as forfeit

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