A judge explains her understanding of justice with her actions By Yuan Yuan
At a recent exhibition held by Beijing Higher People’s Court on civil cases that made pioneering steps during trials, a divorce case in 2013 that saw the issuance of the first temporary restraining order in Beijing was on display.
Liu Li, the judge of the case who granted the order against a husband charged with domestic violence, is now the head of the Aoyuncun Tribunal, affiliated to Chaoyang District People’s Court in Beijing.
Order of protection
While handling the high-profile case, the pressure was huge, Liu recalled. Kim Lee, the plaintiff, posted on her microblog pictures taken in 2011 of her bruised face and said she was beaten by her husband Li Yang, founder of Crazy English, a wellknown language training school.
Lee, from the United States, then sued Li for abusing her with domestic violence and requested a divorce.
The involvement of a foreign litigant and a famous figure as well as the issue of domestic violence soon made media headlines, putting a lot of pressure on Liu.
Liu spent much time collecting evidence and researching domestic violence. “We didn’t have a law specifically on domestic violence at that time, which made the case more difficult,” Liu told Beijing Review. “We also needed to keep a cool head and not be affected by media reports.”
After four court hearings, Liu ruled that Lee was the victim of domestic violence and granted her a restraining order against Li.
“Before that, Beijing never issued a restraining order,” Liu said. “We were under pressure for the possible consequences of the grant.”
This order is regarded as a milestone in cases of domestic violence and it also sped up the introduction of related legislation. In March 2016, China’s first anti-domestic violence law came into effect. Liu contributed many suggestions in the process of the law’s formulation.
Having graduated from law school in 2002, Liu joined Chaoyang District People’s Court. Now she has dealt with more than 3,000 cases involving more than 8,000 litigants.
“Beijing is a megacity with a population of more than 20 million. Chaoyang, as the most populous district in the city, always faces complicated disputes,” Liu said. “Besides, it is where many foreigners stay, which makes the situation more complex.”
In 2008, before Beijing hosted the Summer Olympic Games, the Aoyuncun Tribunal was assigned to deal with all civil disputes involving foreign litigants in the