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David Wertime

Blackmail Fail: A Mistress, Revealed on Weibo

Zhang Xin, or Liu Liu

Ladies in China, lock up your men. The troubling phenomenon of men involving themselves in one (or more) mistresses, otherwise known as “little thirds” (小三), has again rocketed into the top ten topics on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter.

Ms. Zhang Xin, who writes under the pen name Liu Liu (@六六), is one of the best selling authors and screenwriters in China – think Danielle Steele with an acerbic tongue. The plot line in her best known work, “Dwelling Narrowness,” involving an adulterous relationship between a young woman and an older man, so rattled China that many accused her of condoning or encouraging extramarital affairs. 

Life has a funny way of imitating art. Seemingly out of the blue, on the afternoon of March 29, Liu Liu tweeted the following to her 2.1 million followers on Sina Weibo:

Ms. Ice Lee, thank you for sending me long letters and for your phone calls. In fact, [my husband] and I have spent the last four nights in deep discussions about the information you’ve sent me. We looked back at our 23 long years spent together, and have become even more resolved than ever to pass our remaining days together. Whatever path our marriage may take in the future, I thank you for the love and attention you’ve given to [my husband] over the last five years. And I hope that you can accept this reality: He loves me more than you. {{1}}[[1]]ICE LEE小姐,感谢您给我的长信和您的电话。其实您与我通报的消息,在过去四夜里我和偶得爹已深入探讨过了。我俩回顾过去漫长的23年共同生活的经历,彼此更加坚定希望能够共同度过余下的岁月。无论未来婚姻道路如何,我都感谢您在过去5年对偶得爹的爱和照顾。也希望您能接受这个现实:他爱我多过你[[1]]

Ouch, but Liu Liu continues with another tweet:

Ms. Ice Lee has sent me letters and called me via telephone nonstop over the last year and half. I respect your feelings, because we love the same man, which at least proves that my taste isn’t too bad. You’ve told [my husband] that you would disclose the details of past [transgressions] to me. I am telling you I’ve already received them. You threatened him with online publication, [so] I’ve decided to publish [the details] first. He is my lover; you can’t hurt me, and I won’t let you hurt him. Thanks. {{2}}[[2]]ICE LEE小姐在过去的一年半里不断给我发信及致电。我尊重您的情感,因为我们爱的是同一个男人,至少证明我眼光不是太差。您告诉偶得爹,你会把交往的细节全部捅给我,我公开告诉你我已收到。您威胁他会发布在网上,我决定先期发在网上,他是我的爱人,你既不可能伤害我,我也不允许你伤害他。谢谢。[[2]]

The offender - Liu Liu's husband

Liu Liu was right to count on the support for netizens. In a poll of approximately 40,000 netizens, approximately 89% support Liu Liu’s getting the jump on mistress Ice in order to protect her marriage. As @hatty0712 wrote, “In fact, if I faced this situation, what I’d mostly do is shrink, and probably choose to leave or escape; I really admire your courage.” 

The drama takes a comic turn, however, when netizens unearthed an old and rather unflattering picture of Liu Liu’s cheating husband posted in her microblog from 2010. Many netizens found their inner feminist voice. @孟静 tweets, ”Liu Liu! Is this the handsome husband [that you wrote about]?? Aren’t you a famous screenwriter to whom countless buff and cute actors would gladly offer themselves? Why are you sticking around for this?” {{3}}[[3]]六六哇!这就是你玉树临风的偶得爹吗?咱好赖也是著名编剧,无数或精壮或俊美男演员等着献身呐,干嘛要吊死在这棵狗尾巴草上啊![[3]] @艾小图 agrees, “I can’t take it anymore. If all men cheat at least let’s find a tall, handsome and rich one. Sister Liu, leave this dude to his mistress. You’ve got the fame and money, find another one!” {{4}}[[4]]我真的忍不住了,既然男人都会出轨咱还是找高富帅吧[泪][泪] 六姐,这货给小三算了,咱有名有钱换一个吧![[4]]

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David Wertime

David is the co-founder and co-editor of Tea Leaf Nation. He first encountered China as a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2001 and has lived and worked in Fuling, Chongqing, Beijing, and Hong Kong. He is a ChinaFile fellow at the Asia Society and an associate fellow at the Truman National Security Project.