Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu faced rape and other criminal charges in a closed trial in Beijing as China was in an uproar over a video showing a group of men physically assaulting four women in another city.
Wu’s trial on Friday at the Chaoyang People’s Court was reported Friday night by Chang’An Net, which belongs to China’s powerful Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, a commission controlled by the ruling Communist Party.
Many online users criticized the timing of the trial announcement. “More worried about the Tangshan issue,” said the top Weibo comment in response to the Political and Legal Affairs account. It received more than 22,000 likes.
The attack on four women dining at a restaurant in Tangshan, a coastal city east of Beijing, early Friday was seen in surveillance footage shared widely on Weibo. By Sunday, police had arrested nine people on suspicion of violent assault in the case.
The assault and public outcry renewed a conversation about misogyny and mistreatment of women in China. Earlier this year, a video surfaced of a woman who had been chained up in a shack. The police investigation found that she had trafficked and sold as a bride.
Meanwhile, Wu had been in police custody since August last year. The trial of the former member of the Korean group EXO was closed to the public to protect the privacy of the victim, state media said.
Wu was tried on charges of rape, as well as the “crime of gathering a crowd to engage in sexual promiscuity.” Rape is punishable by between 3 and 10 years in prison, although life sentences and death sentences can also be imposed in exceptional cases. The second charge Wu faces is punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The verdict and sentence will be issued later, state media said.
Wu was accused last year by a teenager of having sex with her while she was drunk. Wu denied the allegation.
The teenager also said that seven other women contacted her to say that Wu seduced them with promises of jobs and other opportunities. She said some were under the age of 18.
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