Li Yang (李阳), founder of the "Crazy English" learning course, is one of the best-known English educators in China. His unorthodox teaching method has garnered him millions of fans and stirred up controversy among language trainers. In September 2011, Li was widely criticized for domestic violence against his American wife, Kim Lee.
At university, Li Yang created a unique way of learning English, which involved repeating a sentence thousands of times and shouting them out loud to overcome the shyness many Chinese have when speaking English. Li named his method "Crazy English," which signifies passion, hard work and no fear of embarrassment.
Li Yang graduated in 1990. After a short period working as an engineer, he quit his job and began traveling and promoting his English learning method around China. Over the past two decades, Li has been invited to more than 200 cities to give lectures to more than 30 million people, making "Crazy English" one of China's top language training brands. In 2008, Li was invited by the Beijing Organizing Committee to lecture to volunteers for the 2008 Summer Olympics in an official English-language intensive-training camp.
Li Yang is now chairman of the Li Yang Culture & Education Development Co., which developed from the Li Yang Cliz English Promotion Studio founded in 1994. Branches of Crazy English have been established all around China and expanded to Japan, South Korea and other Asian countries. Li also plans to open "Crazy Chinese" offices in the USA and Europe to promote education of Chinese among Westerners.
From Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, 2011, a blogger who claimed to be Li Yang's wife, Kim Lee, put up a series of posts on Sina Weibo, a leading micro-blogging website in China, accusing the businessman of beating her and uploading pictures of a Caucasian woman with bruises to her forehead, knees and ears.
Those posts soon attracted the attention of many Chinese internet users, who followed the incident and triggered a wave of condemnation online against Li Yang.
Li didn't make any public comments until Sept. 6, when he apologized to his three young daughters on his official microblog for "bringing them into the world without their permission" and "making a great number of mistakes when raising them."
On Sept. 11, Li responded to the wife-beating claims for the first time on his microblog. "I wholeheartedly apologize to my wife Kim and my girls for committing domestic violence," he wrote. “This has caused them serious physical and mental damage."
In another posting, Li said he was receiving counseling at his wife's request.
After that, Li began to receive interviews on the incident by various media, in which he took himself as a negative example and urged the country to make laws banning domestic violence.
On Feb. 3, 2013, the Beijing Chaoyang District Court granted the divorce to American Kim Lee and Li Yang on the grounds of domestic abuse. Li should pay Lee a one-off sum of 12 million yuan.