Sina Weibo users jokingly call the sage a Chinese version of "Why Women Kill" and made a film poster. (Photo: Global Times)
The salacious details of a bitter public divorce by a billionaire couple erupted across the Chinese internet on Wednesday night, with the wife alleging her gay husband was suffering a sexually transmitted disease while he reportedly documented her long history of extramarital affairs.
Internet users joked the sage was like a Chinese version of Why Women Kill, the dark US comedy-drama web television series which was an unexpected hit on the Chinese mainland about three women, of whom two murdered their adulterous husbands and another one found her husband was gay and contracted AIDS.
The most popular joke about Dangdang bookstore billionaire Li Guoqing is that he represents a perfect synthesis of husbands from the series: One was living off his wife, another cheated for years and the third was gay.
Widely circulating screenshots showed Yu Yu accusing Li of being an irresponsible father, irritable office leader and leading a gay, chaotic private life.
Li fired back on Thursday through China's Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo that Yu was slandering him and noting he had evidence of Yu's affairs.
Li and Yu, ranked 573rd on the Hurun Rich List 2019 with a fortune of 7 billion yuan, up 8 percent over the previous year, receive their income mainly from Dangdang, media reported.
Regular updates on the private life of the influential couple have been titillating the online masses via Weibo and WeChat in China.
Media reports included an alleged screenshot from Li, saying he was "more suited to heterosexual marriage" in response to Yu's allegation that he was gay.
In yet more alleged screenshots, Yu alleged Li took 130 million yuan from the family, but Li earlier noted that he was kicked out of the family with nothing to his name.
On Thursday afternoon, Li further posted on Weibo that he would not agree to Yu's divorce terms which allotted him 25 percent of the company's stock: He had founded Dangdang and should get half, Li reasoned.
By Thursday afternoon, the online topic "Li Guoqing asks for half of stock equity" was viewed more than 68.6 million times on Weibo.
"Li Guoqing & Yu Yu" and "Li Guoqing" also drew millions of reads and comments.
Contradictory reports of Li and Yu have drawn attention since last year.
Li reportedly left Dangdang earlier this year. In a recent interview, Li told media that he had been forced out of the company by Yu.
Dangdang began as an online bookstore and later developed into a comprehensive e-commerce platform. It went public in 2010 in New York, but the operation soon encountered hardship.
Weibo users recalled the alleged prostitution case of Liu Qiangdong, founder of China's e-commerce giant JD.com.
Users searched for illegality between the lines of accusations such as Li "accompanying" officials to entertainment venues or funding movies with actors related to government officials.
"It seems that Dangdang has won the warm-up battle before China's Double Eleven Shopping Festival," posted one net user, referring to the Chinese mainland November 11 singles shopping event.