Suspect that your husband might be cheating on you? Just give the “mistress killer” a call.
The Global Times has recently published a disturbing profile on Zhang Yufeng, whose chosen profession for over a decade has been helping Chinese wives enact their violent revenge on their cheating husbands’ mistresses. Over the years, Zhang has helped thousands of women get through their husbands’ infidelity by helping them collect evidence for court cases and sometimes by guiding them in how to beat up and humiliate the women they hold responsible.
Zhang, popularly known as the “mistress killer,” was inspired to go into this line of work after her own husband cheated on her in the 1990s and asked for a divorce. “I curled up on the couch for a week. When I finally went out, my hair had become gray and people said I looked as if I’d lost more than 10 kilograms,” she remembered.
Rather than losing herself in self-pity, Zhang decided to take revenge. Devoting herself to tracking down her unfaithful husband and his mistress as they continued to move from house to house in a desperate attempt to flee from her. Soon, an old woman approached Zhang, asking her to help her daughter who had gone into depression after finding out that her husband had been cheating on her.
Before Zhang could help, the woman took her own life. When she asked the mother why she couldn’t take her son-in-law to court over her daughter’s death, the woman said that she didn’t’ have any evidence. It was then that Zhang found her purpose in life.
“I told the woman that I would ruthlessly exterminate those men,” she said.
Now, Zhang owns a property in Beijing where she helps shelter women who have been kicked to the curb by their husbands in favor of mistresses. With China’s divorce rate hitting new highs, business has been booming for Zhang. She says she receives over 100 calls a day from desperate women. Over the years, she has become a minor celebrity and even a hero to some.
Recently, it seems like every few weeks there is a new video going viral on Chinese social media showing a group of women beating, stripping, slapping, kicking and humiliating a suspected mistress in the street while no one steps in to help the victim.
Typically, these videos are met with outrage by Chinese netizens who question why these women are taking out their anger on helpless “mistresses” rather than their cheating husbands.
But Zhang gives no quarter to mistresses, saying that she wants to treat them just like “Japanese devils” and “chop off their head with a sword.”
The Global Times describes Zhang’s first experience with beating a suspected mistress on the street:
The first time Zhang beat a mistress was to help another woman. They ran into her husband’s mistress while investigating and Zhang recalled that she slammed into the woman and kicked her lower half while abusing her verbally and stomping on her glasses.
“We beat the woman into the middle of the street, causing a traffic jam. There were lots of people standing there, watching us beat the woman,” said Zhang.
Afterwards, police came to intervene. When Zhang saw the police coming, she immediately went to them, telling them that the victim had seduced another’s husband.
“The police officer told me that he ‘didn’t see what’s happening.’ When I heard this, I knew it’s OK. So I kept beating the mistress,” she said.
In the 1990s, police were even more reluctant than they are today to intervene in what they consider to be family matters, and they often turned a blind eye when Zhang and her friends beat mistresses. “I quite miss the past,” she admitted.
Zhang claims that the end of this “golden age of mistress-beating” is bad for women’s health, arguing that for scorned wives, beating a mistress brings important health benefits, allowing them to breathe more easily.
“Those who don’t dare to beat will develop diseases including esophageal cancer, uterine cancer, lung cancer,” she said, explaining that beating mistresses helps wives vent their anxiety and emotional pain.
We’re not sure that this is the kind of “empowerment” that most women’s movements are aiming for. However, it does illustrate the uncertain and desperate position that many Chinese wives find themselves in when their name is not on the property deed.
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