Four Chinese influencers have died since July

Four Chinese influencers have died since July

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Four  Chinese social media influencers have died since July, making that one for each month of the four months in the second half of this year.

The most recent, the suicide of 25-year-old Luo Xiao Mao Mao Zi, who had more than 760,000 fans on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, is perhaps the most tragic.

Content warning: the story below contains death by suicide.

Ms Luo died on Friday (Oct 15), one day after she had been encouraged by some of her followers to swallow pesticide during a livestream the day before. 

She said during the livestream that she had been suffering from severe depression and had been warded in hospital for two months.

The influencer told her followers on the afternoon of Oct 14 that it was likely to be her last post, saying, “Thank you all for everything. If you want to know why I said that, come watch my livestream later.”

And then, in a separate livestream that night, she held a bottle up to the camera, saying that it contained pesticide.

Some viewers begged her not to drink the liquid, but others allegedly egged her on, saying that what Ms Luo was doing was merely a stunt, and calling it fake.

One viewer reportedly told her, “Just go ahead and do it. Stop wasting everyone’s time.”

Reports say that around 1,200 saw her down the contents of the bottle.

As she did so, commenters allegedly continued to argue about whether or not she meant to take her life.

However, after drinking the liquid, she clutched at her throat and began to choke.

She then switched off her webcam and called an ambulance. She died the next day in hospital. 

According to a close friend of Ms Luo, what the vlogger had done may have been an attempt to win her ex-boyfriend back. She dated Zhào Ruòlín, a college basketball player with many female fans, some of whom were jealous of Ms Luo.

The pair broke up in 2020.

One report says that someone  on Douyin reported that Ms Luo had warned of her last livestream, in the hopes that the platform would reach out with suicide prevention resources to her.

“But the app’s moderators determined that the video wasn’t in violation of their community guidelines and didn’t warrant their intervention.” Some 12 hours later, the Douyin user said, after the livestream ended  Douyin reversed that decision. “But it was too late,” the report said.

On Aug 21, a woman known as Henan Meimei, died while livestreaming her travels across Tibet on Douyin. The 22-year-old was pulling her trailer along No 109 national highway when she lost control of it. The trailer ran over her, killing her.

In July, two young influencers, both female, also died.

On Jul 20, Xiao Qiumei, 23, a mother of two who was also popular on Douyin,  fell to her death. She had worked as a crane operator in Quzhou, Zhejiang Province. That day, she had been filming herself inside the crane’s cabin. While talking to the camera, she slipped and plunged nearly 50m to her death, still clutching her phone, according  to witnesses.

Ms Xiao’s death came soon after that of a social media influencer in Hong Kong, Ms Sofia Cheung, while she was taking photos at  the scenic Pineapple Mountain, which is often called the Grand Canyon of Hong Kong.

On the afternoon Jul 10, she was standing at the edge of a waterfall in the area which is also known as or Por Lo Shan, when she suddenly lost her footing and fell nearly five metres  into a pool below.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with suicide, don’t be afraid to reach out to Samaritans of Singapore (SOS):
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call the 24-hour emergency medical services at 995 or approach your nearest A&E.



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