Thought of divorcing Tang has never crossed my mind: Xiao Hong
When I heard from friends that Lao Tang and Xiao Hong had divorced, I was shocked. Two years ago when Weizhen Tang was on trial, I met the couple in the courtroom, and engaged in several deep conversations with Xiao Hong. Despite the serious trouble that her husband was in and the dire situation, Xiao did not show any intention to leave the marriage. I was impressed with her loyalty and her strength to cope with difficulties.
Unexpectedly, the rumour was denied by Xiao.
“In this day and age, there are many rumours going around… If there are 100 people, you can hear 100 different stories about Lao Tang and me. But what I can tell you is that they are rumours, not facts… Lao Tang and I are still married,” says Xiao. “The thought of divorce has never crossed my mind.”
But Xiao does not hide the fact that her life is in crisis.
“You can’t imagine how painful it is… I have absolutely nothing left… No money, no car and no credit… my entire living is extremely difficult, depending on the loans from generous friends... I don’t know if I can survive tomorrow.”
Xiao says that ever since Lao Tang was sent to jail, things have kept getting worse. Apart from physical separation, she has to face huge debts that Tang has left to her. She has been pushed to the edge.
“His former clients and various debt collectors constantly bug me for money… I am facing all kinds of threats and assaults… I don’t think anyone can survive such a living environment.”
Apart from her current financial distress, Tang’s case has left her facing a marred reputation.
“Many people think that I am a liar and that I am hiding a huge amount of money… They don’t believe a single word of me.”
Xiao says she understands why infamous Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff’s son committed suicide after Madoff was arrested.
“In general, as the offender serves his time, his families take all the hits for him… The person in jail has his life taken care of, whereas the families live in hell.”
Xiao sobbed as she spoke, with occasional pauses that I could hardly make out what she was saying.
But apart from agony and despair she is in, Xiao is also struck with anger. She is most angry towards those who used to suck up to the couple when Tang was at his peak, but turned their back and even hurled insults against them after Tang’s fallout.
“These people are the most snobbish ones I’ve ever come across,” says Xiao. “I don’t understand how someone’s behaviour could change so abruptly.”
But despite her plight, Xiao has never thought of leaving Tang. “Tang and I were graduates from the same university, and our feelings towards each other were pure at the time, and it has grown as we age.”
Xiao remains resilient, and does not give up hope. She looks forward to the day that Tang comes out of jail, still clinging to the hope that they can rebuild their lives one day.
She has some true friends who have generously supported her.
“It is because of them that I’ve pulled through… I hope one day that I can return their generous favour that they’ve offered to me… No word can express my gratitude.”
As Xiao was revealing her mixed emotions over people surrounding her – friends and foes, supporters and attackers, I am deeply haunted by the variability and uncertainty of human fate, and moreover, the complicated and contradictory sides of human nature – it gathers both sides of noble and dark, glorious and ugly.