China women: Killer of popular vlogger Lamu executed

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By Michael Bristow & Patrick Jackson

BBC News

A screen grab of Lamu from the Douyin websiteImage source, Douyin

Image caption,

A screen grab of Lamu from the Douyin website

A Chinese man has been executed for murdering his ex-wife by setting her alight while she was livestreaming.

The woman, known as Lamu, was a well-known social media personality on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok.

Hundreds of thousands of her followers had watched videos about her life in the mountains of Sichuan province.

The case put the spotlight on violence against women in China. One survey suggests a quarter of all Chinese women have suffered from domestic abuse.

The mother-of-two is reported to have approached police about her husband’s violence while they were married only to be told it was a family matter.

When her husband Tang Lu was sentenced to death, the court in Aba prefecture, a remote rural area in the south-west of Sichuan province where a large number of ethnic Tibetans live, found that his crime had been “extremely cruel” and the social impact had been “extremely bad”.

In June 2020, Lamu divorced Tang who, the court said, had had a history of violence against her.

About three months later he doused her with petrol at her father’s home and set her alight. She suffered burns to 90% of her body and died two weeks later.

The case caused outrage across the country and prompted renewed debate about violence against women.

Thousands of Lamu’s followers left messages on her Douyin page, while millions of users of the microblogging platform Weibo called for justice using hashtags that were later censored.

China criminalised domestic violence in 2016 but it remains widespread, particularly in rural areas.

Some activists fear that a recently introduced mandatory 30-day “cooling off” period for couples who wish to divorce may make it harder for women to leave abusive relationships.

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