None of the woman's followers knew about her personal issues because of her cheerful and natural videos.
Trigger Warning: This story mentions abuse and murder that may be disturbing to readers
Lhamo was quite popular on Douyin, China's version of TikTok, and she had hundreds of thousands of followers who loved her videos of harvesting herbs in China’s autonomous southwestern Sichuan province, per Washington Post. Though she always had a cheerful expression on her face, she was struggling to escape her abusive husband. She'd even submitted repeated pleas to the police and courts for help but in vain.
Lhamo, who was from a poor and remote village, married Tang when she was young and the couple went on to have two children. Dolma told the New York Times that she'd often noticed bruise marks on her sister, who'd come home to recover after an abusive episode.
When she filed for divorce in March 2020, Tang threatened to kill both their sons. Since she was left with no choice, she agreed to remarry him, but ran away, unable to take any more abuse. In May 2020, Lhamo sought refuge at a relative’s home. But, Tang, looking for her, approached Dolma at a souvenir shop and punched her in the face, breaking her jaw. According to South China Morning Post, Dolma said Lhamo had gone to the police twice, only to be rebuffed because it was a “family matter”.
Mr. Tang poured gasoline on Ms. Lhamo and set her on fire as she was livestreaming. She had tried to divorce him for the third time.— Women's Voices (@WomenReadWomen) October 17, 2021
Her case sparked outrage in China over the government's lack of protections for women fleeing domestic violence.https://t.co/eXXx5SJ88Q
She eventually divorced him again and Tang gained custody of both children.
On September 14, 2020, the 30-year-old was hosting a live stream. She let out a scream, and her screen soon went blank, reports BBC. Tang had allegedly broken into her house armed with a knife and petrol. He doused her in the inflammable fluid and set her on fire. The woman was taken to a local hospital and later transferred to Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital for further treatment. Sadly, she died two weeks later.
On October 14, 2021, a Chinese court found Tang Lu guilty of homicide and sentenced him to death for an “extremely cruel” act that had an “extremely bad” social impact.
Following Lhamo’s death, her sister Dolma took over the account to post updates about the family, as per Vice. On the first anniversary of Lhamo’s death, Dolma posted a video of rising sky lanterns. “I will protect the people you worry about and love. I will make our dreams come true,” she wrote. “In our next life, I will be your older brother and protect you.”
Cover Image Source (Representative): Getty Images | Lucas Ninno