Baijiu is a Chinese alcoholic beverage that is up to 60% alcohol. It is a white spirit usually distilled from sorghum and quite frankly, it a potent liquor that delivers a hell of a kick. The beverage has important historical significance in China and is traditionally drunk in small cups or shot glasses. It was definitely not originally designed for youths to consume 3 litres of the stuff in the space of a few minutes. But that is apparently what Chinese people are challenging each other to do nowadays.
In recent months, a dangerous drinking game has emerged in China dubbed ‘the Baijiu Challenge’. It all started on 20th December when a young Chinese man chugged half a litre of baijiu in just ten seconds. The culprit claims that he was not aiming to begin a viral challenge when consuming the alcohol. He was simply late for a party and wanted to catch up with others’ intoxication.
Nevertheless, a challenger emerged the following day one-upping the man by drinking double the amount of Baijiu. The 30-year-old online business owner from Jiangsu province then posted the challenge on an online forum. Cue big drinkers rising to the challenge and engaging in a very intense series of outdoing each others’ binge drinking. Not only has the volume of baijiu being skulled increased, but so too has the alcohol percentage.
Soon after, a man posted a video of him drinking a phenomenal 3 litres of baijiu in the one sitting. After reports of the ‘3 litre brother’ having died from the binge drinking, the man emerged on social media clarifying that he was fine. However, he did stress the dangers of binge drinking to the millions of viewers. A famous actress, Mengni Gabby was also seen posting the challenge to her Weibo account. However, she claimed she only wanted to raise awareness of the dangers of heavy drinking in an exaggerated way. She said she wanted to stress that “it is not necessary to lose your life in order to save face.”
Restaurateur and wine collector, Li Guohua told the BBC that games such as this “tarnish the reputation of baijiu in China.” He said it is a table manner for one to cover their mouth when drinking wine and seemed disappointed at the way youths were abusing these traditions.
Professor Jean Hee Kim, an expert on drinking culture in China and South East Asia also told the BBC that “the culture of drinking for social reasons is conducive to competitive drinking.” She said the major thing about drinking that has altered in recent years is the public nature of drinking that is being shared. In the same way that the “neknomination” trend went viral in Australia last year, this trend is being fuelled by the ability of people to spread videos and reach millions of people almost instantly via social media.
Having experienced the toxic taste and potent effects of baijiu myself, I am well aware of the danger of these feats and the precarious situation that Chinese youths are putting themselves in. All I can say is that I hope no one tries to outdo the ‘three-litre brother’ by beating his efforts.
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