Crazy Li Goes to Court

A new round of divorce hearings between Li Yang, the founder of a controversial and high-decibel English education program, and Kim Lee, his battered American wife, began last week. Last year, Lee posted pictures of the injuries her high-profile husband inflicted upon her on Weibo. This was the third round of hearings, and was kept private at Li’s request. The court’s results have yet to be reported. The Economist explains how this high-profile case shines light on domestic-violence, a topic oft-ignored in China: IN 2006, when she was seven months pregnant, Kim Lee was kicked so hard in the abdomen by her husband that she needed hospital treatment. Such domestic violence, though shocking, is not uncommon in China. Around a quarter of Chinese women have experienced domestic abuse, according to the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF), a state-controlled NGO, but experts say the real figure is probably much higher. Concerns about losing family “face” mean many incidents go unreported, and few offenders are ever punished. What makes Ms Lee different is that she is a white American. Her husband is Li Yang, the celebrity founder of Crazy English, a wildly popular English-language training institute, which encourages students to learn English by shouting it at the top of their voices. The few people Ms Lee confided in, including her Chinese sister-in-law, told her to stop provoking her husband. When she complained to the police, after suffering concussion and bruised ribs, they told her to “relax and go home”. Frustrated, she turned to the internet, posting photos on a Chinese microblog last August. One showed a lump the size of a golf ball protruding from her forehead. Another showed a bloody ear. The photos caused a sensation. Hundreds of thousands of comments were published about them on microblogs. Since then, many more ...
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