In Crazy English Divorce, 3 Victories, 1 Defeat

Kim Lee, the American wife of Crazy English founder Li Yang, was awarded a 12 million yuan divorce settlement by a Beijing court on Sunday. Li must pay an additional 100,000 yuan per year for each of their three daughters until they turn 18; the oldest is now 10. Perhaps most significantly, Lee will receive 50,000 yuan in compensation for domestic violence she suffered during the marriage. The case attracted widespread attention in China, and Lee has received over a thousand letters of support from other victims of abuse. From Didi Kirsten Tatlow at The International Herald Tribune:

“It’s a very important case. All of society was paying attention,” Guo Jianmei, a leading rights lawyer, said in a phone interview. “We’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

[…] Ms. Guo listed what she said were the case’s three victories – and one defeat.

“Firstly, the court granted a protection order. Secondly, it acknowledged domestic violence as the grounds of divorce,” something still too rare, she said.

“Thirdly, it ordered Li Yang to pay 50,000 renminbi in compensation for the violence, which although it’s a small amount is important in saying ‘it’s not acceptable,’” she said.

Yet Ms. Guo said that the financial terms of the settlement – Ms. Lee will receive 12 million renminbi ($1.9 million) and a fixed sum annually until her daughters reach 18 – showed that Chinese courts failed to uncover Mr. Li’s true assets and make him pay commensurately.


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