Payout for family of Chinese daredevil who died while livestreaming a stunt

James Rothwell
Wu Yongning was known for scaling tall buildings - Wu Yongning/Weibo

A video livestreaming service has been ordered to pay out 30,000 yuan (£3,400) to the mother of a daredevil who plunged to his death from a 62-foot skyscraper after he filmed himself doing pull-ups on its ledge.

Wu Yongning, 26, was performing the stunt on the roof of the Huayuan International Centre in Changsha in Hunan province in November 2017, but slipped and fell. A court in Beijing ruled that video streaming app Huajiao had failed to "ensure the safety and security" of Wu and was partly responsible for his death, according to the South China Morning Post.

The case illustrates how online streaming companies could be found in breach of their duty of care if they allow users to carry out dangerous or reckless stunts. Grim video footage posted online shows the moment Wu loses his grip on the ledge of the skyscraper and suddenly disappears from view.

In the video, he is seen attempting to clean or dry off the surface of the ledge before hesitantly swinging over the edge and performing several pull-ups. He then loses his grip and appears panicked as he tries to scramble back up to safety before slipping off the ledge. His body was found on the terrace below by the skyscraper's cleaners.

The 'rooftopper' had posted around 200 videos Credit: Wu Yongning/Weibo

Wu had uploaded more than 200 live streams of his urban stunts, and was paid around 55,000 yuan (£6200) for each one by his fans, who were encouraged to donate if they enjoyed the video.

Critics have accused the streaming platform of enabling and profiting from dangerous exploits by young Chinese people such as Wu, who reportedly was trying to raise money for his poor relatives.

As Youtube and Twitch, two of the most popular online video services in the West, are blocked in China, millions of young people are turning to websites such as Huajiao for entertainment.

Around 100 other streaming services exist in China, but the government is cracking down on those that are seen to encourage or allow dangerous behaviour.

According to China Daily, more than 1,800 lifetime bans were imposed on those who used the streaming services irresponsibly in 2017.