The ex-husband of a domestic violence victim has been arrested after she died after he set her on fire during a social media live-streamed video.
Tibetan influencer Lhamo passed away 16 days after her ex-husband Tang Lu set her ablaze to the horror of social media users in China.
The popular vlogger had amassed 900,000 followers on Chinese social media app Douyin – a domestic version of video-sharing app TikTok.
On the outlet she shared videos of herself dancing, laughing and revealed she chose to live in her home town of in the southwestern Sichuan province to care for her poorly father.
But 30-year-old Lhamo was burned to death by her abusive former partner while she was live-streaming from her kitchen on September 14.
Lhamo had escaped her marriage when she filed for divorce in May after Lu had broken her arm, but he convinced her to remarry her by threatening the lives of their two sons.
The pair remarried, but Lhamo divorced him again in July and Lu went on to harass her up to her death.
China Global Television Network reports that Lu was arrested on Thursday while the case continues.
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The violent death of Lhamo has sparked demands for female victims of domestic violence to be granted better protection in China.
Chinese citizens have taken to microblogging site Weibo to demand justice for the popular blogger and are campaigning for a "Lhamo Act" to protect domestic violence victims.
Zhang Rongli, an associate professor of law at China Women’s University, told Sixth Tone: "Such vicious incidents suggest the true scale of domestic violence at the local level is more pervasive than what’s being uncovered."
Statistics from China have suggested that 1,214 deaths have been due to domestic violence between 2016 and 2019.
Over three-quarters of the deaths recorded female victims, while seven% were children.
While China introduced anti-domestic violence laws in 2016, legal experts fear the protections offered still don’t go far enough.
Ding Dang, the founder of the Green Roses social work centre in Shenzhen, told Sixth Tone that a lack of economic and cultural factors would make it difficult for women in similar positions to Lhamo living in rural areas to have access to help.
She said: "Most of our work now focuses on visibility, that is, making people realize that domestic violence is not a 'family affair'."
If you have been affected by issues of domestic violence or coercive control you can call Refuge's 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free. The number is 0808 2000 247.
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