Just last month, I discovered a new celebrity couple in the cross-cultural community of Chinese men and Western women — Li Yang, the founder of Crazy English, and Kim Lee, his American wife. If only it weren’t because of revelations that Li Yang beat and battered Kim for many years.
If you’re in China, chances are you heard the news long ago. How Kim brought up the domestic violence by posting photos of her bruised body on Sina’s Weibo. That Li Yang admitted hitting his wife to the public, but then offered an unrepentant response.
If there was a “model Yangxifu” award, Kim Lee deserves it. She courageously shared her private turmoil with the public, starting a national conversation on domestic violence and spurring the Chinese government to reconsider dormant domestic violence legislation.
But Kim’s relationship with Li Yang could easily play into some of the worst cross-cultural marriage nightmares — and, I might add, negative stereotypes of Chinese men.
Of course, I don’t fault Kim for anything. She did the right thing. Still, a celebrity couple in the community of Chinese men and Western women in love makes the headlines… and, unfortunately, it’s for domestic violence. I couldn’t help but wonder — will some people come away with the wrong kind of message?
I scanned the comment sections of the news and blogosphere coverage on Kim Lee and Li Yang, and so far, most readers see the story for what it is — from a sad commentary on the state of domestic violence in China, to a portrait of a man who embodies “Crazy” in the worst possible way. But those who choose to comment only represent a small percentage of the people reading the news. Which is to say, we’ll probably never really know just what impact — if any — the news has had on the image of Chinese men and Western women in love.
But I do know one thing — Kim Lee, you’ll always be part of the “Yangxifu sisterhood,” no matter what happens to your marriage. 😉
What do you think of the news of Kim Lee and Li Yang?