Chinese bridesmaid dies of alcohol poisoning at wedding

A 17-year-old Chinese bridesmaid was found dead in her hotel room with suspected alcohol poisoning after a wedding banquet in southern Guangdong province due to China’s notorious ‘ganbei’ or ‘bottoms up’ drinking culture.

Hotel’s CCTV footage showed that the young bridesmaid (in circle blurred out) was struggling to stand up after bouts of drinking

The victim’s family claimed that the teenager was forced to drink in place of the bride at the wedding banquet in Meizhou in Guangdong on 23 January, when interviewed by local official Chinese newspaper Guangzhou Daily.

Surveillance footage from the hotel showed that the 17 year old – who had not yet reached China’s legal drinking age of 18 – fell from her chair at the banquet and was supported by two young women to the hotel lift, due to excessive drinking.

The young bridesmaid reportedly began with cider but later switched to other alcoholic beverages, most likely China’s fiery Baijiu.

Toasting at Chinese banquets with throat-burning Baijiu and other liquors is notorious and can easily turn deadly. It’s typical for newlyweds to toast every guest at the reception to show their gratitude and appreciation. The bride though often uses a bridesmaid as stand-in should the toasting become excessive.

This is not the first time that this kind of ferocious drinking culture has claimed lives in China.

In 2016, a 28-year-old bridesmaid died of alcohol poisoning at a wedding in Wenchang, Hainan province, after she collapsed following a bout of Baijiu toasting.

Beyond wedding receptions, there have been reports of business executives and government officials in China who have drunk themselves to death at banquets.

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