TAIPEI, Taiwan—Chinese Canadian pop star Kris Wu has faced rape and other criminal charges at a closed trial in Beijing as Chinese citizens were in uproar over a video showing a group of men physically assaulting four women in another city.
Wu’s trial Friday at the Chaoyang People’s court was reported late Friday night by Chang’An Net, which belongs to the powerful Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, a commission controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
Many online users criticized the timing of the trial announcement. “More concerned about the Tangshan matter,” said the top comment on Weibo in response to the Political and Legal Affairs’ account. It was liked more than 22,000 times.
The attack on four women dining at a restaurant in Tangshan, a coastal city east of Beijing, early Friday morning was seen in surveillance footage shared widely on Weibo. By Sunday, police had arrested nine people on suspicion of violent assault in the case.
Wu, meanwhile, had been in police custody since August last year. The former member of Korean group EXO was tried on charges of rape as well as the “crime of assembling a crowd to engage in sexual promiscuity.” Wu denied the accusation.
Rape is punished with anywhere between 3 years to 10 years in prison, although life sentences and death sentences can also be given in exceptional cases. The second charge Wu faces is punishable with up to 5 years in prison.
The verdict and sentence were to be issued later, state media said.