Kris Wu, a Canadian Chinese pop singer who was once one of China’s most popular entertainers, was found guilty of rape by a Beijing court on Friday and sentenced to 13 years in prison for #MeToo allegations.
In a statement on social media, Beijing’s Chaoyang District People’s Court said Mr Wu was convicted of taking advantage of three drunk women and having violent sex with them in his home in 2020. He was also found guilty of “assembling a crowd to engage in promiscuous activities,” according to the court.
Before his arrest in 2021, Mr. Wu, known as Wu Yifan in China, was a superstar with tens of millions of followers on social media. Born in China and raised partly in Canada, he rose to fame as a member of Korean pop band EXO before embarking on a successful solo career as a model, singer and actor. He has had endorsement deals with more than a dozen prominent national and international brands, including Bulgari, Louis Vuitton and Porsche.
But his career collapsed when he was accused by an 18-year-old university student of luring young women like her into her home to discuss possible career opportunities and then dousing them with alcohol before urging them to have sex. Prosecutor Du Meizhu said she believes that Mr. Wu did this to other young women.
Police’s preliminary findings on her allegations initially said she hyped her story “to boost her online popularity,” sparking outrage from her followers and drawing accusations that authorities were shaming a victim.
This helped amplify Ms. Du’s claims and build a rare wave of support in a country where women are often deterred from raising complaints of sexual misconduct and where victims of sexual assault and harassment are often victims of online Be abused and even sued for defamation.
“That day has finally come,” Ms Du wrote on the country’s popular social media platform Weibo after the prison sentence was announced. “I am very thankful for China’s legal system, which does not spare any criminal, even if he is a big star,” she later added.
After Mr Wu’s arrest last year, the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda channels hailed the arrest as a lesson for celebrities that fame will not protect them from justice.
In its statement, the court said he would also be deported. Officials from Canada’s embassy in China attended the sentencing hearing, the court said. Mr Wu, who denied the allegations when they first surfaced, has the right to appeal his conviction and his 13-year sentence. Mr. Wu’s lawyer could not be reached immediately.
According to Xinhua, a state news agency, the Chinese government said in a separate announcement that it would seek 600 million yuan, or about $83 million, from Mr. Wu for tax evasion, overdue fees and fines.
Supporters of China’s burgeoning #MeToo movement said that if the conviction stands, it would serve as a warning to perpetrators of sexual misconduct.
“It will also encourage some women to muster up the courage to defend their rights in an environment where victims are often shamed and humiliated,” said Huang Simin, a mainland-based human rights lawyer who has worked on gender-based violence cases Has .