| Global Times | 2013-2-3 23:53:01
By Xie Wenting
A court has ruled in favor of American Kim Lee in her high-profile divorce case with her former husband, Crazy English founder Li Yang.
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.
The court found that Li had been physically abusive toward Lee, and he should give her 50,000 yuan in compensation for mental distress. The restraining order is valid for three months, and states that Li cannot beat or threaten Kim. Any violation will be punished with fines or detention.
Lee said Sunday after the hearing that she felt satisfied.
"The most important thing is that I can raise the children, and the court identified Li's behavior as domestic violence," she said.
Dressed in a white winter coat, Lee appeared composed in court. But as she was interviewed by the press afterward, she burst into tears several times.
"Nobody wants to be beaten. Nobody wants to worry about their kids' schooling," she said.
The court said Li had beaten his ex-wife twice, in 2006 and in 2011. Lee had also previously said in court that Li also carried out psychological violence, and said he only stayed at home around 20 days a year.
Lee filed for divorce in November 2011, after uploading photos to her Sina microblog in September 2011, showing her bruises, the result of Li's domestic violence. Since then, Lee has become an advocate for women's rights, and has spoken out against domestic abuse.
"It was disgusting to undress and have photos taken of my injuries," said Lee, referring to when evidence was gathered of Li's abuse.
Li was not in court. His lawyer Shi Ziyue said Li's flight was delayed by the weather, but photos uploaded to Li's Sina microblog Sunday show him teaching in Guangdong Province. Li denied he abused his ex-wife, said Shi.
"Domestic violence is ongoing violent behavior and causes serious damage. Li only beat Kim twice and the reason for the violence is because they argued about the children's education," said Shi. He does not yet know if Li plans to appeal the ruling.
Judge Liu said that both parties had asked for custody of the children.
"Their eldest daughter is 10, so we asked her opinion," said Liu, "she said her father often works away and doesn't stay at home. So she wants to stay with her mother."
Lee said she will allow Li to have access to the children.
"Divorce is an adult problem. If he wants to see the children, I'll arrange for it," she said.
Previously, Lee had asked for a lump sum of 6.55 million yuan in child support, but the court ordered Li to pay 100,000 yuan per child annually until they are 18.
Qi Lianfeng, Lee's lawyer, said that if Li goes bankrupt before fully paying his child support, Lee would have no way to get the remaining money.
As for the property division, Lee said that she does not care so much.
"I can start my new life. I want to give Li Yang more space. Let him think about the preciousness of children and family," she said.
The court also said it suspects Li of bigamy after it was found he did not divorce his first wife until November 2006. Li married Lee first in Las Vegas in April 2005, and later they registered again in Guangdong Province in 2010. Shi insists that the US marriage was not legally binding.
The judge said that as this is a civil case, they have not inquired into the bigamy, but Qi said Kim does not intend to sue over this issue.
"This case can be a model for other civil cases. Domestic violence is widespread and serious in China, but the court often doesn't identify the man's behavior as domestic violence," said Qi.
"China desperately needs a law to tackle domestic violence," he said.
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