Image source, Getty ImagesImage caption, Lamu had hundreds of thousands of followers on China's TikTok

A Chinese court has sentenced a man to death for murdering his ex-wife by dousing her in petrol and setting her alight as she was livestreaming.

The case caused outrage across the country and prompted renewed debate about violence against women.

Tang Lu's crime was "extremely cruel and the social impact was extremely bad," the court statement said.

Lamu, a Tibetan, had hundreds of thousands of followers on Douyin, China's version of TikTok.

The mother-of-two was known for her upbeat posts on rural life and was praised for not using make up in her videos, which had millions of likes.

Her videos showed her foraging in the mountains, cooking and miming to songs wearing traditional Tibetan clothing.

Lamu divorced Tang, who the court said had a history of violence against her, in June 2020, about three months before the fatal attack at her father's home.

She suffered burns on 90% of her body and died two weeks later.

The court in Aba prefecture, a remote rural area in the south-west of Sichuan province where a large number of ethnic Tibetans live, said Tang deserved "severe punishment" in accordance with the law.

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After her death tens of thousands of her followers left messages on her Douyin page, while millions of users of the microblogging platform Weibo called for justice using hashtags that were later censored.

China criminalised domestic violence in 2016 but it remains widespread, particularly in rural areas.

Lamu is reported to have approached police repeatedly about Tang's violence towards her, but officers rebuffed her saying the violence was a "family matter".

She then divorced Tang but returned to him after he threatened to kill one of their children. After the beatings continued she divorced him for a second time and gained custody of both children.

About a quarter of married women in China have experienced domestic abuse, according to a 2013 study by the All-China Women's Federation.

Some activists fear that a recently-introduced mandatory 30-day "cooling off" period for couples who wish to divorce may make it harder for women to leave abusive relationships.