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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Lamu murder: Death sentence for popular Chinese vlogger’s killer


A Chinese court has sentenced a man to death for murdering his ex-wife by dousing her in petrol and setting her alight as she was livestreaming.

The case sparked national outrage and rekindled debate about violence against women.

Tang Lu’s crime was “extremely cruel, with a severe social impact,” according to the court statement.

Lamu, a Tibetan, had millions of followers on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok.

The mother-of-two was well-known for her positive posts about rural life and was praised for not wearing make-up in her videos, which received millions of likes.

Her videos featured her foraging in the mountains, cooking, and miming to songs while dressed in traditional Tibetan garb.

Lamu divorced Tang in June 2020, about three months before the fatal attack at her father’s home, citing a history of violence against her.

She died two weeks later after suffering burns on 90% of her body.

Tang deserved “severe punishment,” according to the court in Aba prefecture, a remote rural area in the south-west of Sichuan province that is home to a large number of ethnic Tibetans.

Following her death, tens of thousands of her followers left messages on her Douyin page, while millions of users of the microblogging platform Weibo used hashtags that were later censored to demand justice.

Domestic violence was criminalised in China in 2016, but it is still prevalent, particularly in rural areas.

Lamu is said to have approached police several times about Tang’s violence against her, but officers turned her down, saying the violence was a “family matter.”

She divorced Tang, but later reconciled with him after he threatened to kill one of their children. She divorced him a second time after the beatings continued and gained custody of both children.

According to a 2013 study by the All-China Women’s Federation, one-quarter of married women in China have experienced domestic abuse.

Some activists are concerned that a recently enacted mandatory 30-day “cooling off” period for divorcing couples will make it more difficult for women to leave abusive relationships.

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