American Kim Lee Wins Landmark Divorce Case Against Abusive Husband

Kim Lee and Li Yang

American Kim Lee came into the Chinese spotlight in 2011 when she dared to speak out against domestic violence. She posted pictures of injuries suffered at the hands of her abusive husband, Crazy English founder Li Yang. And then she publicly hassled him about signing their divorce papers.

Well, yesterday morning, Kim won about as definitively as she could have hoped. Reports Global Times:

During the hearing at Chaoyang district court Sunday morning, chief judge Liu Li ruled Lee, 41, should receive 12 million yuan ($1.9 million) in property division and full custody of their three daughters.

The court also ordered a restraining order against Li, 43, the first time a Beijing court has given such an order.

None other than the New York Times’s Rendezvous blog has commented on the significance of this case:

“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.”

Guo listed “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.

The defeat, however, may be that Lee is actually getting less than she deserves:

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.

Still, 12 million will go a long way. And there may be another victory yet, not just for the 41-year-old Lee, but for Chinese women everywhere:

By last Friday, two days before the divorce, she had received 1,141 such messages from strangers, she said.

“It quickly became a matter of the other women and their stories,” she said. “No one else was speaking out. I just felt I had to.”

“I hope people will use me as an example of success,” she said. “Now I can say, ‘use your rights, these are the laws and it’s painful and they could be better but you can succeed.”

(Image via)

    5 Responses to “American Kim Lee Wins Landmark Divorce Case Against Abusive Husband”

    1. Big Pile O' Fragrant Roses

      Good for her. Didn’t know about the story but just read up on it. Let’s hope this can serve to liberate more women who suffer daily abuse.

    2. Ant Farm

      Hey Big Pile, we just hacked Beijing Cream and got your IP address! We also hacked and we have his address book. He’s been a very naughty boy. Stay away from this site while he is politely asked to clean it up or we’ll be tracking you for your comments about China.
      We can do it to the Washington Post, and we can route via many IP addresses.
      Stay away from this site or we’ll come and visit your computers home. We’re really not very far away and we are watching what is being written and by who.
      Keep commenting here though if you want a deportation order or a 30 day detention.
      Have a nice day!!!

      • Chackie Jan

        You know most guys here use VPN right? So I’m sure you’ll have a nice time when you visit one of the thirty servers we use. LOL.

    3. Enforcer

      Hey Ant Farm, I can assist you. The guy Monkey King is a creepy old racist American paedophile who owns a kindergarten in Beijing and also has connections with colleges in Chengdu. Just check out his comments on thebeijinger to see how racist he is. Or here are a couple to start you off – just search down to the comments section and read the last comment by afairman:


    Leave a Reply

    • (will not be published)

    XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

    8 × = eight