A student who was paid to livestream video games for 240 hours dies of exhaustion

Thursday, November 30, 2023 – A Chinese student and video game streamer has died from possible exhaustion after livestreaming for five nights in a row.

The student, whose surname was Li, was in his final year at Henan’s Pingdingshan Vocational and Technical College. He was contracted by a Chinese media company to stream as part of an internship needed to graduate next June.

He was to livestream for 240 hours in just 26 days and upload 15 short clips in order to earn a minimum salary of just 3000 yuan (£323).

Under the obligations of the contract, he would have had to stream for 38.4% of the 26 days he was contacted for, on top of his school work and outside life.

Li’s housemates, who all lived in a rented home in Zhengzhou, found him unresponsive and rapidly breathing in his sleep, so they called an ambulance.

Livestream records viewed by a Chinese news outlet revealed he had livestreamed for Henan Yihui Culture Media from 9pm to 6pm in the five days before his death on November 10.

His father said he was pressured to move over to the night shift in order to earn better tips.

The company denied pressuring him into taking the night shifts, but a representative admitted to Chinese media that many livestreamers struggled with work-life balance while working for them.

The representative also denied that Li was a formal employee or an intern, claiming instead:

“We provide the location and we take a commission from his tips, and it’s just a simple cooperation.”

The company reportedly offered the family just 5000 Yuan (£555) but insisted that any further requests for compensation would have to be made through legal channels.

It is not currently known whether Li’s father will take legal action against the company, but he said that his son’s school had offered help and legal assistance, and that he was applying for compensation through insurance companies, Dailymail reports.