CHINA / SOCIETY
Kris Wu detained for suspected rape, likely to 'face 10 years to life sentence'
Scandal a wake-up call for idols, major powers: everyone is equal before the law
Published: Aug 01, 2021 09:18 PM
Kris Wu Photo: VCG

Kris Wu Photo: VCG



The detention of Chinese-Canadian pop idol Kris Wu on suspicion of rape has come as an earthquake to the Chinese entertainment industry, which analysts believe would be a wake-up call for not only long-beloved idols, but also major powers in the industry that money and resources would never be a license to ensure that you can do whatever you want.

Wu, 30, was detained for suspected rape on Saturday night, according to an announcement published by Beijing police. Police did not disclose the full identity of the man, but many media outlets identified him as the pop star Kris Wu.

The announcement is the latest development in a scandal that has struck a heavy blow to the career of one of China's most influential young celebrities. Several brands dropped their contracts after Wu was accused by Du Meizhu, an internet influencer who claims to be Wu's girlfriend, of luring underage women to have sex by claiming he was recruiting actresses. However, Wu denied on his Sina Weibo on July 19 that "There was no 'underage' [sex]" and if there was this kind of behavior, he would go into prison himself.

If he is convicted, Wu may be sentenced to 10 years to life. After serving his sentence in China, Wu may be deported, an attorney from the Beijing Lanpeng Law Firm told the Global Times on condition of anonymity on Sunday. 

Beijing-based lawyer Wu Fatian said although Kris Wu is a Canadian national, according to the principle of territorial jurisdiction, China's laws apply to anyone who commits a crime in China, according to ent.163.com.

Wu's detention quickly came under the public spotlight. People's Daily commented that a foreign nationality is not a talisman. No matter how famous one is, there is no immunity. Whoever breaks the law will be punished by the law. Remember: The higher your popularity, the more you must be self-disciplined; the more popular you are, the more you must abide by the law.

The "'Kris Wu Incident' is no longer entertainment gossip tainted with a peachy atmosphere, but a real legal case. It also teaches society a very solid lesson that everyone is equal before the law," writes the Legal Daily.

One has to abide by Chinese laws on Chinese territory. Chinese law neither wrongs nor connives with anyone, and will take facts as the basis, read a comment on the official Sina Weibo account of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China.

Criticism of Wu also flooded Chinese social media. Liu Liu, a well-known female scriptwriter, apologized late Saturday night for comments defending Wu five years ago after a young woman posted accusations that the star had raped her. 

"Tonight, I'm seriously reflecting on myself. The biggest warning this has given me is on parenting and education on morality," she wrote, adding that she will close her Sina Weibo account for half a year as a "self-punishment."

Li Xueqin, a well-known talk show star who claims that she is a fan of Wu, also deleted all her posts related to the idol.  

The official Sina Weibo account of big-budget costume drama The Golden Hairpin, which stars Wu, deleted all posts related to him on Sunday, leaving only a poster featuring the show's supporting characters. The Golden Hairpin, produced by Tencent Video, is Wu's first TV drama.

On Sunday night, Wu's personal account on Sina Weibo, with more than 50 million followers, as well as his studio's were cancelled for "violating laws and relevant regulations." More than 100 super topics related to Wu on Weibo were closed.

Wu's account on the short video platform Douyin, was also blocked and followers have been removed, and Chinese music platform NetEase Cloud Music removed his songs as well.

"From the current situation reported by the police, Wu's acting career in China is likely to come to an end. His related films and TV dramas will inevitably be affected," Xiao Fuqiu, a film critic based in Shanghai, told the Global Times.

Shi Wenxue, a cultural critic based in Beijing, echoed Xiao that The Golden Hairpin might not be able to be released. As a big budget drama with an investment of more than 600 million yuan ($92 million), it has already obtained a broadcast license. However, since the scandal broke, the stocks of three listed companies - Tencent, China Literature and Phoenix - fell, which means losses should far exceed the investment of the drama. 

Currently, the hashtag "losing fans" is trending on Sina Weibo as Wu's account on the platform continues losing followers at a rapid pace.

However, some fans still support their idol. They reopened a topic named "Li Jiaheng super topic" (Li Jiaheng is Wu's original name in Chinese) which is full of posts about "saving" their idol. Meanwhile, a photo that has gone viral on Sina Weibo shows many people standing outside the police station in Beijing's Chaoyang district. 

Wu's case sounded an alert for all the super idols and public figures, that nobody should have a fantasy of using the resources and power they have to utilize and deceive fans in any way - receiving their gifts and money, or even taking advantage of their bodies and reputations, said Shi, stressing that idols at Wu's level should behave more morally and legally to set an equally high example for their followers. 


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