Wang Xiangjun: Chinese social media campaigner known as 'Glaceier Bro' presumed dead

Wang Xiangjun
Wang Xiangjun

A Chinese adventurer and environmentalist nicknamed “Glacier Bro” by his fans is missing presumed dead after falling into a glacial waterfall in Tibet.

Wang Xiangjun, who has photographed more than 70 glaciers over seven years in his mission to highlight climate change, has been missing since December 20. Local rescuers say they have been unable to find any trace of him, and that it is highly unlikely he has survived, according to Chinese media reports.

A video posted on his social media accounts appeared to confirm his death.

“My brother lies forever in his favourite waterfall,” read captions to a video of a glacial waterfall. “He was obsessed with and devoted to glaciers all his life, and this is the best final destination for him.”

Wang, 30, posted hundreds of videos of glaciers on social media, where he had more than a million followers. Since 2013, he had dedicated himself to recording the images of glaciers before they melt to raise awareness of global warming. He also live-streamed to his followers to explain the different characteristics of glaciers and how they formed.

He was invited to share his experience filming the large bodies of ice at a U.N. climate change conference in Madrid in December 2019.

Wang Xiangjun
Wang Xiangjun

Wang was called “Glacier Bro” by his fans and the media, but he preferred to call himself the “Adventure King of Tibet”, a region that he loved.

Wang was born in a rural area of China’s southwestern Sichuan province, which borders mountainous Tibet. He left his home to go to a city to find work, but once he earned enough money to travel to Tibet he set off for the glaciers, according to Xinhua News Agency.

Wang fell into a glacier waterfall in Lhari County in northern Tibet on December 20. The Global Times newspaper quoted an unnamed local official as saying that Wang fell because the ice was not thick enough to stand on in some places.  

“He could be under an ice floe. The water is 10 to 20 meters deep. It’s almost impossible (for him to survive),” the newspaper cited the official as saying.

Additional reporting by Yiyin Zhong