Bridesmaid dies after having too many drinks

BEIJING • A bridesmaid has died after being forced to drink too much alcohol at a wedding reception in China, triggering an outpouring of sympathy and outrage about the country's drinking culture.

Police said relatives of the 28-year-old had reached a settlement on compensation with the banquet organiser, reported Chinese media yesterday, without disclosing any details.

A video clip widely circulating on Chinese social media shows the woman, in a black dress, being egged on to drink baijiu at the ceremony on Saturday. She later appears to lose consciousness and is rushed to a local hospital.

She was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to local media.

A preliminary investigation by local police shows that the woman died after consuming too much alcohol, which caused her to vomit and choke to death.

The incident has become a controversial topic on the Internet about wedding traditions, as well as who should be held responsible for her death.

In China, drinking baijiu is usually considered an important part of social rituals, especially during business dinners and wedding banquets. But sometimes it goes too far as the guests have to follow the hosts' orders no matter how reluctant they are.

While some Internet users said that those who forced the bridesmaid should take full responsibility as they pushed her, others believed the woman should also be blamed as she was an adult and could have chosen not to drink.

Mr Ma Wenbin, a lawyer in Shanghai, said that if it is a confirmed case of alcohol poisoning, the bridesmaid, the person who forced her to drink as well as the hosts should share the responsibility together, but that the bridesmaid should bear the main responsibility as she was an adult.

CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 16, 2016, with the headline 'Bridesmaid dies after having too many drinks'. Print Edition | Subscribe