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A woman known as the "mistress killer" has helped women to investigate their cheating husbands and beat up their mistresses since the 1990s. Over the past decade, she has worked on thousands of cases and believes that beating mistress can cure a scorned wife's illnesses.|
A woman who was accused of having an affair with a married man is beaten up by the man's wife in a street in Zhengzhou, Henan Province in July 12. Photo: CFP
If one day your partner tells you they have been seeing someone else and want a divorce, what will you do? Agree to a peaceful breakup or make a scene? Zhang Yufen and her co-conspirators choose a third way: enacting violent revenge on the mistresses of cheating husbands.
In the media, Zhang is well-known as the "mistress killer." After finding out her husband was cheating on her in the 1990s, she harassed his mistress. In the past decade, she has helped thousands of women investigate their husbands and collect evidence of their adultery for a divorce suit. She has also led them to physically beat the mistresses.
Zhang, a native of Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, is now in her late 50s. Two years ago, she moved to Beijing and rented a yard she calls "Moon Bay." There she shelters women who have nowhere else to go because their husband has kicked them out in order to move his mistress into the family home.
She said she wants to "chop off the mistresses' head with a sword," like "chopping off Japanese devils' heads with a sword."
Zhang's experiences are linked to the country's increasing divorce rate and the growing prevalence of adultery that followed China's economic boom in the 1990s.
In 2015, more than 3.84 million couples got divorced and in 2014, this figure was 3.64 million, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
Alliance against mistresses
Zhang's husband used to be the driver of a senior official at a district tax bureau in Xi'an. After he was moved to the business section, many people tried to bribe him, including offering him sex. He was often taken to karaoke lounges, and often prostitutes were present.
He quickly got a taste for this life, and would often make excuses to stay out late at night to commit adultery.
One day, he came home and told Zhang that he was seeing someone else and wanted a divorce.
This was a huge blow to Zhang. "I curled up on the couch for a week [after my husband's announcement]. When I finally went out, my hair had become gray and people said I looked as if I'd lost more than 10 kilograms," said Zhang.
After a week of thinking, Zhang decided to take her revenge. She then began to track her husband after he left his office. In half a month's time, she managed to find the place where he and his mistress lived.
Zhang's husband moved after he found out he had been exposed. The two then fell into an infinite loop of stalking and fleeing.
While she was doing this, an old woman found Zhang, asking her for help as her son-in-law had a mistress. She said that her daughter didn't want to live any more and had attempted suicide several times.
Zhang promised to see her daughter two days later. But when she finally fulfilled her promise, the daughter had already killed herself.
Zhang asked the old lady why she didn't sue her son-in-law. The woman replied that as she had no evidence to prove his affairs, she can't win the case.
These words inspired Zhang, who then made her mind to set up an agency to collect evidence of men's extramarital affairs.
"I told the woman that I would ruthlessly exterminate those men," said Zhang.
She later found nine other friends who had similar experiences when she paid a visit to the local women's federation, and they came together to found the Fire Phoenix Agency in 2003. They charged women for basic expenses and help them to collect evidence their husbands are cheating.