A promising Taiwanese writer’s apparent suicide at the age of 26 has set off a massive manhunt for the tutor who allegedly raped her.
On April 27, Lin Yi-Han was found dead in her home in Taipei, just a couple of months after publishing a best-selling novel, “Fang Si-chi's First Love Paradise.” It is a story about a teenage girl who was groomed into having sexual intercourse with her tutor.
The young writer’s death, however, took a shocking turn after her parents shared a message on social media, revealing Lin’s book was not fiction. In fact, it was based on her real-life ordeal at the hands of her cram (supplementary learning class) teacher.
Lin’s parents shared the information via Guerrilla Publishing, the publisher of Lin’s novel, on Facebook:
“The agony Yi-han suffered in the past years was not caused by her major depressive disorder, but the seduction and rape that happened eight or nine years ago," the post read.
Lin’s case has prompted nationwide debate in Taiwan over cram schools, consent, rape and suicide, as well as an online manhunt for the alleged rapist.
While the police are still investigating the suicide, internet users soon identified a possible suspect, a famous cram instructor, named Chen Hsing.
The search was taken a step further by users on Taiwan’s equivalent of Reddit, PTT, who tracked down more information on the man.
As the search progressed, Chen admitted he had a two-month relationship with her, however, not while she was his student.
“The embattled instructor also said he had not encountered signs that Lin was suffering from depression at the time,” reported China Post. “However, Chen wrote that upon further recollection he did remember Lin being unhappy due to the pressures brought upon by school work. Lin had revealed in a media interview that she suffered from depression when she was 16.”
People following the case are worried the tutor cannot be indicted under the current criminal justice system.
The Criminal Code in Taiwan stipulates that an adult having sexual intercourse with an underage teenager, with or without their consent, constitutes rape. The age of consent for sexual intercourse is 16 in the country, which means Chen cannot be prosecuted for rape.
The controversy surrounding Lin’s case is still ongoing, but also started a conversation.
“While the death of the novelist has triggered a rash of debate about her story, it is about time to move away from the protagonist — the one in the book and in real life,” stated an AsiaOne opinion piece. “Let's start focusing on ourselves and what needs to be done to build the society we want.”