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Renowned teacher admits abusing his US wife

(China Daily)

09:00, September 13, 2011

BEIJING - A renowned English teacher and family education specialist has apologized for inflicting domestic violence against his US wife, but said even with professional counseling it will be difficult for them to solve their problems.

Li Yang, founder of an English school featuring "crazy English" and a learning method that involves students yelling at the top of their lungs and speaking as fast as possible, told China Daily he and his wife had received professional counseling twice since they reconciled at a police station last Friday.

The counselor encouraged them to discuss their problems and show love and tolerance toward each other.

"What the doctor said are common norms that I always tell my students, but it's more difficult to apply them to myself," the 42-year-old teacher said.

Li admitted he had committed domestic abuse against his wife, Kim Lee, and apologized on his micro blog on Saturday, a week after Lee posted pictures of her bruised head and knees on the web, triggering widespread condemnation of her husband.

Li said he agreed to commit no further violence, apologize on the web, seek counseling and donate 1,000 yuan ($156) to a counseling center for women.

Messages sent to Lee by China Daily were unanswered, but she said on her micro blog that her husband had "faced police charges, admitted the truth, accepted responsibility and asked forgiveness". Another post said she was studying a draft law on domestic violence.

Apart from apologizing to his wife, Li said he also held a family meeting on Saturday night to smooth out the mental damage he caused the couple's three daughters, who were present when Li hit his wife, according to his wife's micro blog.

Li said he promised to love the girls even if he and Lee divorce and he encouraged them to speak out like their mother if they encounter domestic violence in their future marriages.

However, the counseling seems to have been less helpful than expected as the couple quarreled again over the weekend. Li said he is now living in a hotel to avoid further conflict.

Kim Lee said on her micro blog on Monday that it was "so hard to be alone tonight" during Mid-Autumn Festival, a day for family reunions.

"Our problem involves character and cultural differences, which are difficult to solve through counseling," Li said, adding that his busy schedule had also fueled their conflicts.

"The conflicts snowballed," he said. "I hit her sometimes but I never thought she would make it public since it's not Chinese tradition to expose family conflicts to outsiders. But I still respect her for raising three girls on her own and for her passion for her students."

Wang Xingjuan, founder of the Maple Women's Psychological Counseling Center, a non-profit organization, said nearly half of domestic violence abusers are people who have higher education, senior jobs and social status. She said this was probably because such people were usually under more mental stress.

Domestic violence occurs in 30 percent of the 270 million Chinese families, with more than 85 percent of sufferers being women, according to a survey conducted by the All China Women's Federation in 2007. About 100,000 Chinese families break up each year as a result of domestic violence, the federation said.

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