Yesterday a court in Beijing convicted Canadian-Chinese popstar Kris Wu of raping three women between November and December 2020. He was also found guilty of assembling a crowd to engage in sexual activity, a crime in China. Not only has Wu received a 13-year sentence but he will also be deported from the country after serving the prison time as is typical for foreign criminals. The disgraced 32-year-old star holds a Canadian passport.
Today on Weibo, the hashtag “Kris Wu sentenced 13 years in the first trial” has received 10.1 billion views already, becoming the top trending topic on the social media platform. Comments on the platform include: “It’s my first time seeing an idol being sentenced 13 years. I’m witnessing history,” (with over 96,000 likes); another posted that “The sentence is longer than his career history lol” (with 86,000); while one wrote, “He has a date with 2035” (31,000).
Wu was first detained by police in Beijing on July 31, 2021 after public allegations by an 18-year-old female student Du Meizhu went viral on WeChat. He was accused of date-raping her whilst she was intoxicated at the age of 17, as well as sexually exploiting other girls, some also under 18.
Also known as Wu Yifan, the rap star and singer initially denied the allegations and threatened a defamation suit against Du. At the time he was one of the mainland’s biggest stars with ambassadorships for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, L’Oreal Men, and Lancome as well as Chinese companies such as Tencent Video, c-beauty brand Kans, and mobile game Honor of Kings, all of whom quickly ended their relationships with him.
The length of the sentence is also notable. Media initially reported that three to ten years would be likely if he was found guilty. But judging by the 13 given, it’s likely that the courts want to make an example out of this celebrity. In addition, authorities have also fined Wu $84 million (600 million RMB) for tax evasion. The message from the government is clear: in China, celebrity status carries little weight when you’re caught breaking the law.