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A Chinese court has sentenced a man to life imprison for murdering his wife in a fit of rage after she had inadvertently called a fellow online gamer her “husband”.
In 2009, 16 year-old Chang and 18 year-old Juan met each other while working in a factory in Qingyuan. The two began a romantic relationship and moved in together. In April 2004, Juan gave birth to a baby boy who was then sent away to Hunan to be taken care of by Chang’s parents. Because Chang hadn’t reached the legal age to be able to be married, the couple remained single even though they acted and were treated as a married couple by everyone. Chang has an introverted character but still acted very well towards others, while Juan had a very lively disposition. Juan also enjoyed playing online games.
Juan became especially attached to a Sichuan online player. The two would use very ambiguous wording in speaking to each other by using such terms as “husband” and “wife”. When the two went back to Chang’s family home to celebrate Spring Festival in January, 2013, Juan would continue to contact her online companion by phone because Chang’s family did not have internet access.
On February 12, 2013, Juan and her online companion exchanged New Year’s greetings. It was during this conversation that Juan accidentally used the word “husband” to describe the other party. At this time, Chang overheard the conversation and immediately snatched away the phone, demanding to know who Juan was speaking with. Juan explained that it was merely her online friend; he resided in Sichuan and the two had never expressed an interest to meet each other face to face. Juan then promised to never talk to her online companion again, and so Chang would never have to follow up on the situation.
However, four days later when two had returned to a clothing factory in Qingyuan, Juan received another call from her online companion. The two talked for half an hour, again angering Chang. This led to an argument between Juan and Chang.
Without explanation, Juan ran out of the dormitory and called her mother to ask if she can temporarily stay with her. At the end of the call, she went back into the dormitory to collect her suitcases. When Chang found his missing wife back at the dormitory, again without explanation Juan asked for the keys and money, informing him of her plan to stay at her mother’s.
At this time Chang became extremely angry. Chang thought that Juan was lying, and was instead leaving to be with her “online husband”. Chang and Juan then had a physical altercation in which Chang used his fists to hit Juan in her face, while Juan resisted Chang’s attacks by hitting him with a perfume bottle. The fight ended with Chang using a piece of bedding to wrap around Juan’s throat, strangling her to death.
Having murdered his “wife”, Chang became very upset and tried to use glass shards to commit suicide, but couldn’t commit the act.
Chang would flee the scene of the crime and escape to Guangzhou, Fuzhou and Zhuhai, but would surrender to authorities on February 20.
The Qingyuan Central Court of Guangdong sentenced Chang to a term of life imprisonment for intentional homicide on September 26. Chang would pay a restitution of 35,000 RMB to Juan’s parents.