Chinese-Canadian superstar Kris Wu is to be sentenced for rape after a secret trial in Beijing on Friday, Hong Kong media reports. He risks spending between three and ten years in jail.
Wu was arrested and formally charged in August last year after allegations were made in late July by Du Meizhu, 18, a beauty industry influencer. The woman used social media to accuse the musician and actor of date-raping her while she was 17 and a time when she was drunk. Du later also accused him of doing the same to other young women, including two minors.
Wu denied the charges at the time and police initially appeared to side with Wu. But two weeks later the Chaoyang District People’s Procurator in Beijing issued an official statement saying that it had approved Wu’s arrest “after investigation in accordance with the law.”
Reports are beginning to emerge of a trial at the Beijing Chaoyang District People’s Court that was not open to the public, apparently in order to protect the victim’s privacy. The charges included rape and “group licentiousness.”
While the Hong Kong media reports have so far not spelled out the details of the verdict, or even if there was a formal verdict, there can be little doubt about the outcome. Chinese courts have a 99.9% conviction rate. Sentencing will be announced at a later date, the court said.
In China, the crime of rape normally incurs a sentence of between three and ten years in prison. In particularly egregious cases, as well as instances of statutory rape, the sentence can run to life imprisonment or even the death penalty. China’s age of consent is 14.
Group licentiousness, defined as sex involving three or more participants over the age of 16, carries a jail sentence of up to five years.
At the time that the formal charges were made, it was reported that the court could also decide to deport Wu.
Wu was born in China but has Canadian nationality and had been one of China’s biggest entertainment stars. He rose to fame as part of the Chinese-language offshoot of Korean boyband EXO, before focusing on his career in China. The rapper became a TV fixture as a judge and mentor on shows including “The Rap of China.” In 2018 he signed an exclusive distribution deal with Universal Music.
Previously represented by UTA and CAA, Wu has appeared in Hollywood films including “XXX: Return of Xander Cage” and “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” as well as Chinese films such as Guan Hu’s “Mr. Six” and 2016 fantasy “L.O.R.D. Legend of Ravaging Dynasties” and its 2020 sequel.
Official media and organizations last year portrayed Wu’s arrest as a major victory and example of China’s strong rule of law. It was also a further opportunity, in an already far reaching drive, to call for a clean-up of toxic, money- and celebrity-worshipping culture.
After confirmation of his arrest last year, Wu was swiftly canceled by streaming platforms, broadcasters and by the local and international brands that he endorsed. In the cases of other celebrities who have fallen foul of the law, such as that of actress Zhao Wei last year, official cancelation can involve acting bans, restricting internet searches and the removal of their name from previously released works.