Back in February, Li Guoqing, the co-founder of e-commerce firm Dangdang, announced that he had resigned from the company he started with his wife Peggy Yu back in 1999. He wrote that he had given up his stake in the platform once touted as China’s Amazon (see WiC87) to Yu and that he was setting up a book club instead.
All is not well between the couple, it seems. During an on-camera interview about his departure last month, Li lost his temper and hurled a glass of water at the floor. “I will never forgive her just because she’s my wife,” he thundered, when asked about how Yu had forced him out.
The outburst was part of an exhausting divorce drama that has unfolded online. Last week Yu left a lengthy comment on Li’s WeChat account in which she listed a series of allegations against her 55 year-old husband (the two have been married for 23 years). For instance, she claimed that he stole Rmb130 million ($18 million) from their joint bank account, which included some of her parents’ savings. She also said she had endured years of domestic violence. “How many pots and pans have been smashed in our house? After I called the police, you ran away. But since I had no obvious scars and wounds the police could not do anything,” she wrote.
Another allegation was that Li had relationships with several men during their marriage and she even maintained that he had contracted syphilis at one point.
“You have kidnapped me for 20 years. I have had enough… Li Guoqing, I will scratch your face off,” she wrote.
Li retaliated with accusations of his own, saying that he had filed for divorce from Yu in July, but that she had refused to sign the papers. He also threatened legal action to stop her defaming him and talking about his private life. He added that he possessed “solid evidence” about secrets that Yu had been hiding during their marriage too. “I don’t want to expose your hypocrisy because I think there’s still love between us, but don’t take my compromises as weakness,” he warned.
Netizens weighed in on the drama. “So the perfect couple we were led to believe has been faking the whole time?” commented one.
“I have to side with the woman because for a man, Li Guoqing is really low,” a Yu supporter wrote.
“The two may have taken over the internet but who is paying attention to their son? The truth is, when a couple divorces – and so acrimoniously – the impact on the child can last a lifetime,” another pointed out.
For others, the divorce was a private matter and best left undiscussed by others. “At the end of the day, a marriage is between two people. So everyone else should just keep their opinions to themselves. After all, only the two of them know the truth of the matter,” another wrote.
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