Chinese vlogger dies after ‘set on fire by ex during live stream’

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BBC.COM- copyright Getty Images Image caption Lamu was allegedly live streaming when she was attacked

A Chinese influencer has died after her ex-husband allegedly doused her in petrol and set fire to her as she was attempting to live stream, said local media reports.

Lamu was popular on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, where she had hundreds of thousands of followers.

Lamu suffered burns on 90% of her body and died two weeks after the attack.

The case has prompted conversation on social media about violence against women in China.

Lamu, 30, from China’s Sichuan province, was known for her happy posts on rural life and was praised for not using make up in her videos, which had millions of likes.

According to state-media outlet the Beijing Youth Daily, Lamu’s screen went black soon after she started livestreaming on 14 September.

Her ex-husband, identified only by his surname Tang, had allegedly broken into her house armed with a knife and petrol.

A statement from Jinchuan County Public Security Bureau said that after the attack on 14 September, she was taken to a local hospital and later transferred to Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital for further treatment.

Her family asked her followers for financial help and more than one million yuan (£114,280) was raised in just 24 hours, according to The Paper.

Lamu died on 30 September.

What led to this?

According to the Beijing Youth Daily, Tang reportedly had a history of domestic violence.

Lamu’s brother-in-law, identified as Mr Luo, said he had heard his wife “mention that her sister was often beaten by Tang”.

Lamu reportedly divorced Tang earlier this year in May – the pair have two children, and each gained custody of one child.

Shortly afterwards, Tang threatened to kill one child if Lamu did not re-marry him, said the news report.

She did, but ended up running away from him. Unable to find her, he reportedly questioned her relatives – Lamu’s sister, who refused to reveal her whereabouts, was also beaten by Tang.

Family members said this incident was reported to the police who, according to them, took no action.

She eventually divorced him again and he gained custody of both children.

Police said Tang was detained on 14 September on suspicion of “intentional homicide”. A team is continuing to investigate, the statement said.

What has the reaction been?

The case has prompted discussion on China’s social media site Weibo. More than 70 million people have used a hashtag mentioning her death.

One user said she hopes “women are given more security”.

Another attacked police officials saying: “Where were you when a report was made? Why didn’t you care?”

This is not the first time a victim of domestic violence has met with difficulty in China’s legal system.

Earlier this year, a Chinese woman was beaten by her husband so brutally that she jumped from a window to escape.

She later attempted to divorce him, providing CCTV footage of the event as proof. The court refused to grant the divorce.

She later uploaded the video on to social media where thousands rushed to her defence – the court later granted her divorce.

Earlier this year, China introduced a new 30-day “cool-off” period before couples are granted a divorce, to allow both parties time to rethink their decision. But this has sparked some concern that victims of domestic abuse could be coerced during that period to reconsider.

The law, which will come into effect in 2021, is not applicable to families with a history of domestic violence, though rights groups say many cases are not reported to police.

 

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