Sister revealed as online tormentor in new twist to suicide story

Zhang Long
Influencer's girlfriend received death threats after his suicide but police say claims she was a gold digger were false and the online storm had been fueled by his sister.
Zhang Long

Liu Jie, a 21-year-old gaming influencer known online as "Fat Cat," jumped into the Yangtze River from Chongqing's Yangtze River Bridge on the early morning of April 11.

Following his suicide, his ex-girlfriend Tan became the target of a fierce online storm.

Initially blamed for Liu's death and accused of financial exploitation, Tan was labeled a gold digger. Her name and contact details were posted online, leading to relentless harassment and online shaming.

But there was an unexpected twist to the tale last night when Chongqing police revealed that Liu's sister had orchestrated the smear.

Since April 15, using the account Keke Can't Sleep, she posted 25 videos, including WeChat screenshots and financial records between Liu and his girlfriend.

According to information she provided, her 21-year-old brother had been in an online relationship for a year and a half with 27-year-old Tan. Liu had moved to Chongqing to be with her, during which time Tan allegedly requested a total of 510,000 yuan (US$70.506) for various things such as rent, shopping, and opening a flower shop.

In Liu's sister's account of the relationship. Tan was extorting money from Liu, who made his money through gaming services. Liu often worked through the night and lived frugally. In his last WeChat status update, he said he didn't like vegetables and desired McDonald's.

Many netizens expressed their condolences by sending deliveries of burgers, milk tea, and flowers to the Yangtze River Bridge.

Topics related to Liu's death garnered billions of views on Chinese social media Weibo.

Tan became the target of waves of hate. Rumors online said Tan had only met Liu twice in their two-year relationship and that she was a lesbian, only dating Liu online to extort money from him.

"A classic gold digger," read one online comment, "she broke Liu and pushed him to his death."

Sister revealed as online tormentor in new twist to suicide story

Food delivered to the Chongqing Yangtze River Bridge in Chongqing in tribute after Liu's suicide.

However, in a dramatic reversal of the story, police published the results of a detailed investigation on May 19.

They confirmed that Liu and Tan had been in a genuine relationship since meeting through an online game in November 2021, publicly acknowledging their relationship in November 2023. They had financial exchanges and plans for their future together, with no evidence of a scam on Tan's part.

Financial records showed that from their online meeting in November 2021 until Liu's death, Liu transferred over 799,000 yuan (US$110,587) yuan to Tan, while Tan transferred over 463,000 yuan back, including amounts to Liu's family. This included 297,000 yuan to Liu, 30,000 yuan to his sister, and 136,000 yuan to his father.

Following Liu's death, Tan also returned 70,000 yuan meant for the flower shop and 66,000 yuan that Liu had willingly given her before his death.

Through mediation, Liu's parents and Tan reached a reconciliation, with Tan repaying the financial differences in their relationship.

The police investigation also found that Liu's sister continued to allege that all of Liu's earnings were spent on Tan and that she vowed to ruin Tan's reputation, encouraging online harassment.

She posted private conversations and financial records from her brother's personal social media accounts, solicited sympathy, and paid online agencies to boost online visibility, resulting in a surge in her social media followers.

Her actions led to significant harassment and threats against Tan, disrupting her life and causing chaos online, even death threats. Liu's sister later acknowledged the illegality of her actions and has apologized. Her accounts have been banned on multiple platforms.

Liu's sister has apologized for online posts that made her brother's girlfriend a target.

The police also addressed those who had exploited the story for personal gain, spreading false information and inciting harassment against Tan.

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