(Credit: Aly Song, Reuters)

Earlier this year, two accidents happened at Pinduoduo, a top Chinese e-commerce company. These accidents heated up internet discussions on labor relations. 

First on December 29, 2020, a 22-year-old Pinduoduo employee died suddenly in the middle of the night due to overwork. 

What made Chinese netizens furious was Pinduoduo’s response to the tragedy. On Zhihu, a Chinese question-and-answer site similar to Quora, a question was posted: “What do you think of the news on Pinduoduo employee’s sudden death after overwork? What kind of responsibility does Pinduoduo need to assume?”

The Question on Zhihu

An account labeled as “Pinduoduo (Official)” replied, “Look at the people at the bottom, who hasn’t exchanged their life for money?” 

Although this reply was quickly deleted, screenshots were already all over the internet. Later Pinduoduo apologized and claimed it was an accident posted by a non-affiliated marketing agent. But netizens were far from satisfied. 

Then on January 9, another Pinduoduo software engineer jumped off his apartment building in Changsha. 



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Mingsi Ma