A young Chinese entrepreneur's suicide after being blackmailed by his ex-wife, who he met on a popular dating site seven months ago, has caused an uproar over China's dating sites.
Su Xiangmao killed himself Thursday in Beijing after receiving repeated threats from his ex-wife, Zhai Xinxin, who was allegedly demanding from him more than 10 million yuan ($1.5 million) and properties from their one-month marriage.
The couple met on March 30 on Chinese dating site jiayuan.com, got married on June 7 and got a divorce on July 18, Su's brother said on Weibo Saturday. Su was the founder of WePhone, an international long-distance call app. It is about to stop operation, a pop-up news on the app reads.
As more details of the case are revealed, Chinese net users are questioning whether the dating website through which the couple met should be somehow liable for the tragedy.
Shijijiayuan (jiayuan.com), confirmed Sunday on Sina Weibo that Su and Zhai are VIP members and registered using their true identities. The site said it will cooperate in an ongoing investigation by police.
A staff member from the dating site told the Global Times users don't need to submit their personal ID to register but phone number is required.
China has a number of famous dating sites such as baihe.com and zhenai.com, but none of them require real-name registration, the Global Times found.
"China's online dating sites are in chaos. Many people take advantage of the dating sites for business purposes or extorting money," Peng Xiaohui, a sexology professor at Wuhan's Central China Normal University, told the Global Times Tuesday.
The China Judgments Online website shows that there are cases of users being lured to pyramid schemes through dating sites.
The couple also had allegedly concealed some information from each other when they met on the dating site. Su's brother wrote on Weibo that Zhai had concealed that she was previously married before meeting Su, which was his first marriage. Some net users accused Su of hiding his health condition record.
"Dating sites should be non-profit organizations, not platforms for making money. They are legal, but they allow fake user information on their sites by taking advantage of loopholes in the law," Peng told the Global Times.