Crazy English couple go to court

Updated: 2011-12-16 07:13

By Cao Yin and Zheng Jinran (China Daily)

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BEIJING - The wife of Li Yang, founder of a well-known English education institution in China, Crazy English, is determined to divorce her husband and is fighting in court to get the properties she says she deserves from the marriage.

"I don't want to ask for houses or money from my husband, but I'll fight for my deserved properties and insist on divorce," Kim Lee said on Thursday after she walked out of a court in Beijing where their case was heard for the first time. "I'm trying my best to win custody of the three girls, and I'm considering going back to United States with them, if they are willing."

Crazy English couple go to court

Kim Lee (center), the wife of Li Yang (right), founder of a famous English-language education institution in China, talks to reporters after the couple's divorce hearing at a Beijing court on Thursday. Provided to China Daily

"China has no clear laws against domestic violence on women, which means I may not get much compensation if I sue him for that reason, so I have to protect myself and ask for what I deserve through the divorce," she said, adding that she was very sad to see her husband in the court.

In Lee's micro blog posts after the court hearing, she said Li applied in court for custody of the children and asked her to pay child support.

The Aoyuncun court, which is affiliated with the Beijing Chaoyang district people's court, did not announce a verdict after hearing, while judges are still trying to mediate the couple. The date of a next hearing is also pending.

On Li's request, the hearing was closed to the public.

Qi Lianfeng, Lee's attorney, from the Ying Ke Law Firm in Beijing, said the key issue in the case is the division of property and the difficulty lies in how to find out how many properties Li Yang has.

"Lee asked the court to investigate her husband's properties, but Li said he had little money," Qi said, adding that judges will continue to communicate with both parties.

Lee brought a suitcase to the court containing textbooks Li uses in his English-teaching business. She claimed that the books were written by both of them together, through which she hoped to prove that she deserves part of her husband's property. Li neither objected to his wife's evidence nor gave any indication of the extent of his property in court, the lawyer said.

"My client hopes the court can divide their joint properties reasonably and she wants to get what she deserves," Qi said.

The attorney declined to speculate on how much money Lee will get after the divorce.

Lee did not know Li's income from his business, a teaching method that encourages students to speak English aloud, or how many houses he had bought in his name during their 12-year marriage, according to Lee's document.

Li denied he once blocked the money for his wife and said he hoped the court's mediation would work, though he agreed to divorce.

The couple, who have not seen each other for nearly four months, continued debating after the three-hour court hearing.

Li Yang said quarrels have been part of their normal life, adding that he misses the children and wishes to come home to celebrate Christmas with them.

"I have tried to contact my kids, but my wife won't let me. We always failed in communication, so I didn't go home for nearly four months," Li said in a soft tone, holding Christmas cards that his kids prepared for him as he walked out of the courtroom.

Lee had given him the cards in the courtroom.

Before the hearing, Li posted two micro blogs with photos, to show his love for the family and apologize to his wife, he said.

Lee said his meek attitude was false. She said she invited him to watch their older girl's Christmas performance at school after the hearing, but Li said he had to fly away on business.

The couple have been in the media spotlight since Lee revealed on her micro blog that Li had beaten her after a quarrel in August.

Li later admitted the violence and apologized.