The 33-year-old worker, Wang Long, had been working at the state-owned Baotou Steel in Inner Mongolia for more than a decade, before he went missing during his night shift on March 24.
In surveillance footage posted on Chinese social media, Wang is shown throwing his helmet and gloves into the pot of molten metals and minerals before jumping into the pot himself. Temperatures inside the furnace can reach above 1,500 degrees Celsius (2,700 degrees Fahrenheit).
The worker’s death has prompted shock and grief on social media this week. In a Tuesday statement, Baotou Steel said Wang was a longtime stock and futures investor and his death might be related to his trade losses.
Wang lost more than 60,000 yuan ($9,100) from his investments on the day of his death, the company said. “It’s suspected that his suicide was related to the large amount of losses and that he could not repay his heavy debts,” the statement said.
Many retail investors in China see the country’s volatile stock markets as a casino where they could gain wealth quickly. But the turbulence sometimes causes disastrous losses to amateur traders.
While China’s early recovery from the coronavirus outbreaks contributed to a stock market bull run in 2020, Chinese shares were in a slump in recent weeks, due to concerns of an end to pandemic-era stimulus and escalating geopolitical tensions between China and Western countries.
On March 24, the day Wang died, China’s benchmark indexes fell to their lowest close in three months.
According to a Bloomberg report, some investors have flocked to China’s online second-hand marketplace this month trying to sell watches, engagement rings, and Nintendo Switch gaming consoles to offset losses from their mutual fund investments.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, help is available. Call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone now or text START to 741741 to message with the Crisis Text Line.