Live-streaming app partly responsible in death of rooftopper


A Beijing court has upheld the verdict against a major live-streaming app, ordering it to shoulder partial responsibility for the death of a "rooftopper" who fell from a skyscraper while posting from the summit of a 62-storey building in central China.

Wu Yongning, known as China's No 1 rooftopper, had more than one million followers on several live-streaming apps and had uploaded almost 300 videos of his daredevil stunts in which he scaled tall buildings without any safety equipment.

Wu, who said he relied only on "martial arts training and careful planning", plunged to his death from the top of the Huayuan Hua Centre in Changsha, the capital of Hunan province, during a live-stream in November 2017. He was 26.

The Beijing Internet Court ruled in May that the parent company of Huajiao, the platform that live-streamed Wu's last rooftop exploit, should bear "minor responsibility" for the accident and ordered it to pay 30,000 yuan compensation to his family. Wu's mother, He Xiaofei, had originally demanded 60,000 yuan and an apology.

The company, Mijing Hefeng, filed an appeal and on Friday the Beijing No 4 Intermediate People's Court upheld the original verdict.

The court said Wu was mainly responsible for the accident as he apparently was aware of the danger in climbing skyscrapers without any protective measures.

But it found that the app Huajiao had allowed him to upload the video without cutting his internet connection to the platform or providing any safety warnings. It had played an "inducing and encouraging" role in Wu's continuous dangerous rooftopping activities and had increased the risk of his death.

The company, therefore, had a "causal relationship" to Wu's death, the court said.

Wu's family claimed he risked his life in his last live-stream because he was hoping to win a 100,000 yuan prize. No details were given about the sponsor, the newspaper reported.

Wu worked as an extra in films before turning to a career in rooftopping. His daredevil videos showed him standing atop or dangling from the edges of tall buildings and bridges across the country.

Li Tiehua, the lawyer representing Wu's family, said the mother was still grieving two years after the death of her only son. Wu's stepfather, Feng Fushan, said his wife would become emotional if people mentioned the accident to her.

Source: South China Morning Post

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