Sino-Canadian pop star Kris Wu has been tried for alleged rape and other crimes in Beijing because China is outraged over a video in which a group of men physically attack four women in the city of Tangshan.
Wu’s closed trial at Chaoyang People’s Court was announced late Friday night by Chang’An Net, which belongs to China’s Central Political and Legal Commission, in turn controlled by the ruling Communist Party.
There has been criticism of the date of the trial announcement on the Internet. “More concerned about the Tangshan affair,” said the main Weibo comment in response to the news. People liked the comment more than 22,000 times.
The attack on four women eating meals at a restaurant in Tangshan, a coastal city east of Beijing, early Friday morning, was captured on surveillance footage widespread on Weibo. By Sunday, the police arrested nine people suspected of violent assault.
Public outcry over the issue has relaunched a conversation about misogyny and the mistreatment of women in China. Earlier this year, a video of a woman chained in a shed was released. A police investigation found that she was smuggled in and sold as a bride.
The trial of Wu, a former member of the K-pop group EXO, was closed to the public to protect the victim’s privacy, state media reported.
Wu was tried on charges of rape and “the crime of gathering mobs to engage in sexual promiscuity.” It was not clear what the charges were related to. Rape is punishable by between three and ten years in prison, although in exceptional circumstances life imprisonment and the death penalty may be imposed. Wu’s second charge is punishable by up to five years in prison.
The verdict and possible sentences were to be handed down later, state media reported.
Last year, a teenager accused Wu of having sex with her while she was drunk. Wu denied all allegations of wrongdoing. The teenager said she was contacted by seven other women to say that Wu had seduced them with promises of work and other opportunities. She said some were under 18.