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Canadian singer Kris Wu sentenced to prison for rape in China

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Kris Wu, a Canadian Chinese pop singer who was once one of China’s most popular entertainers, was found guilty of rape by a court in Beijing and sentenced to 13 years in prison. for #MeToo allegations.

In a statement on social media The Chaoyang District People’s Court in Beijing said Mr. Wu was convicted of assaulting three drunk women and forcibly having sex with them at his home in 2020. He was also found guilty of “gathering a crowd to engage in promiscuous activity,” the court said.

Before his arrest in 2021, Mr. Wu, known in China as Wu Yifan, was a superstar with tens of millions of social media followers. Born in China and partly raised in Canada, he rose to fame as a member of the Korean pop band EXO before embarking on a successful solo career as a model, singer and actor. He had endorsement deals with more than a dozen prominent domestic and international brands, including Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, and Porsche.

But his career came crashing down when he was accused by an 18-year-old university student of luring young women like her to his home to discuss possible career opportunities, then dousing them with alcohol before pressuring them for sex. The accuser, Du Meizhu, said she believed Mr. Wu had done this to other young women.

Initially, the police’s preliminary findings of her allegations said she played her story “to boost her online popularity”, sparking outrage from her supporters and allegations that authorities were shaming a victim.

This helped to bolster Ms Du’s allegations and build a rare tide of support in a country where women are often discouraged from coming forward with complaints of sexual misconduct, and where victims of sexual assault and harassment are often targeted. online abuse and even being sued for gossip.

“This day has finally come,” Mrs. Du wrote on the country’s popular social media platform Weibo after the prison sentence was announced. “I am very grateful for China’s justice system that does not spare criminals, even though he is a big star.” she later added.

After the detention of Mr. Wu last year, propaganda outlets of China’s ruling Communist Party hailed the arrest as a lesson to celebrities that fame will not shield them from justice.

In his statement, the court said he would also be evicted. Officials from the Canadian embassy in China attended the hearing, the court said. Mr Wu, who had denied the allegations when they first surfaced, has the right to appeal against his conviction and 13 years in prison. Mr. Wu’s lawyer was not immediately available.

In a separate announcement, the Chinese government said it would receive 600 million yuan, or about $83 million, from Mr. Wu would ask for tax evasion, back fees and fines. according to Xinhuaa state news agency.

Supporters of China’s emerging #MeToo movement said the conviction, if in effect, would serve as a warning to perpetrators of sexual misconduct.

“It will also encourage some women to have the courage to come forward to defend their rights in an environment where victims are often shamed and humiliated,” said Huang Simin, a mainland human rights lawyer who has dealt with cases involving related to gender violence. .

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