Man, 29, dies at China internet café but demise goes unnoticed for 30 hours

On June 3, 2023, workers at an internet cafe in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, China, discovered a 29-year-old man dead after a 30-hour prolonged gaming session. The deceased had visited the internet cafe on June 1 and was found lying on a computer desk at 10pm on June 3 when he did not respond to being tapped on the arm. The man appeared to be cold, prompting the call to the police. It was later ascertained that the man had probably died suddenly on the morning of June 2 based on the breakfast residuals found on his desk.

The man was a regular customer at the internet cafe and typically spent around six hours each visit. However, the exact cause of death was not confirmed as his family declined an autopsy. His brother-in-law, surnamed Chen, questioned why his death had not been noticed earlier, considering the man was seated in an open area.

The internet cafe’s owner noted that the deceased man was a frequent visitor and looked healthy. The two employees who were working during the incident did not find it unusual that the young man had spent an extended period in the open area, as they assumed he was taking a nap and did not want to disturb him.

The case is currently under investigation by local authorities. Incidents of sudden deaths due to prolonged screen time are not uncommon in mainland China. Last year, for instance, a 23-year-old migrant worker died in Jiangsu province after working for at least 10 hours daily for a month. A more recent case involved the sudden death of a 19-year-old man who passed away immediately after consuming a cold drink following a basketball game in 2022. These incidents have highlighted the need for improved awareness and caution regarding extended screen time and physical health.

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