(TibetanReview.net, Dec13’20) – It has taken nearly three months for China to finally arrest the man who had set his former wife, a popular Tibetan vlogger in Sichuan Province, on fire amid a blaze of news reports back in Sep 2020. In sharp contrast, the country takes no time at all to pick up and disappear citizens who do nothing more than seemingly criticize the party leadership or their policies. The development lays bare the extent to which the Chinese government neglects redressing severe shortcomings in the country’s social and criminal justice systems compared to its hypersensitive paranoia on any perceived threat to the Communist Party of China’s grip on political power.
Tang Lu, ex-husband of the Tibetan influencer Lhamo, was arrested on Dec 10, reported China’s official cgtn.com Dec 12, citing the People’s Procuratorate of Jinchuan (Tibetan: Chuchen) County of Aba (Ngawa) Prefecture, Sichuan Province.
The report noted that Lhamo was known for her vlogs showing her life in the southwestern province of Sichuan through Tiktok’s Chinese domestic version Douyin. She was set on fire by her ex-husband on Sep 14 when she was doing a livestream online. She died 16 days later.
The 30-year-old woman was stated to have had nearly 900,000 followers on the short video app. Besides sharing the landscape and her life, she also occasionally sold agricultural products from her hometown, the report noted.
It said Lhamo had divorced her husband Tang in June this year due to domestic violence, but was still harassed by him up till the time of the tragedy.
Lamu’s death sparked an outcry among netizens throughout the country as they demanded justice for her. Within a few days, hashtags mentioning her name received more than 420 million views, cgtn.com earlier reported Oct 10.
China is a latecomer to having a legal interpretation of family violence. It wasn’t until 2001 that physical abuse could be considered a reason to file for divorce. Only in 2016 did China’s first anti-domestic violence law came into effect. It helps victims of physical or mental abuse in the family through various means such as restraining orders.
But it “has loopholes,” Peng Chun, assistant professor of Peking University Law School, has said. “It covers married couples, cohabitating partners, and other family members, but it does not deal with violence against former spouses or intimate partners who do not live together.”
As seen in Lamu’s case, she was no longer eligible for a protection order because she was divorced, even though she’d been abused and threatened by Tang for a decade, Peng has said.