A Chinese court formally approved the arrest of pop icon Kris Wu on rape charges on Monday — and Chinese streamers have swiftly responded by deleting the shows in which he appears.
The move comes after Wu was first detained on July 31 on suspicions of rape. The allegations against him first emerged last month after Du Meizhu, 18, accused him on social media of date-raping her while she was drunk, and doing the same to other young women. He denied the charges at the time.
The Chaoyang District People’s Procuratorate in Beijing issued an official statement that it had approved the arrest “after investigation in accordance with the law.”
The case is already being hailed by some commentators in China as a “major event in the history of the Chinese film industry.”
In China, a rape charge will incur a sentence of at minimum three but no more than 10 years in prison, the lawyer Wu Fatian told the NetEase Entertainment outlet. In particularly egregious cases as well as instances of statutory rape, the sentence can exceed ten years and up to life imprisonment and even the death penalty. China’s age of consent is 14.
As of 2019, Chinese courts had a conviction rate of 99.9%. Although China-born Kris Wu is a Canadian citizen, he will be tried in China according to Chinese law. The court will also determine as part of its sentence whether and when he will be deported.
Generally, an approval of arrest by a Chinese court “indicates the evidence against the person is relatively solid, and that it will be extremely difficult to get out on bail while awaiting trial,” assessed the lawyer Wu, predicting that the pop star will likely remain in police custody for the time being.
Yang Chen, a lawyer with the Beijing Chunlin Law Firm, explained to Chinese outlet The Paper that typically three conditions must be met for the court to approve an arrest. First, there is some evidence of the crime; second, the sentence will involve at a minimum some jail time; and third, there’s concern that the suspect will otherwise endanger the case via means such as “harassing the victim, interfering with witness testimony… destroying or falsifying evidence… attempting to commit suicide, or fleeing.” Once an arrest is approved, a process of investigation and review can go on for months before a court date is set.
Once ‘Formative’ Shows Censored
Shows featuring Wu quickly disappeared in their entirety online, including high-profile ones from major streamers and content studios Youku, iQiyi, MangoTV and Bilibili, among others.
Among the most popular is iQiyi’s “The Rap of China,” which is considered a show that catapulted the rap genre into mainstream Chinese culture. It ran for four seasons from 2017 until 2020, with the first iteration building a nationwide fandom for now-well-known rappers PG One, GAI, VaVa, TT and After Journey, among others.
Emotions ran high over the deletion of that first “Rap of China” season. “No matter how you look at it, this show really was formative for a huge number of young rap listeners,” one commentator said.
Other shows to disappear include the first season of iQiyi’s reality show “Fourtry” — which follows Wu and fellow showbiz stars like Angelababy trying to run a fashion store in Tokyo amid culture clashes.
In the past, celebs who have run afoul of the law have been edited out of productions after completion, and their unreleased projects shelved indefinitely.
Official media and organizations have portrayed Wu’s arrest as a major victory and example of China’s strong rule of law, as well as a golden opportunity to call for a clean-up of toxic, money- and celebrity-worshipping culture.
In a commentary, the official Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily called on the entertainment industry to “dig out its sores and cut off its carbuncles.”
“The facts prove that once the law is violated, even those who fly the highest can lose all they had in an instant. Those who use fame to cover up their boorishness and selfish desires will inevitably end up self-destructing,” it wrote. “The more famous you become, the more moral and ethical you must be. The more fans you have, the more you have to set an example.”
The Women’s Federation wrote: “No matter how dazzling a person’s halo or how famous they are, they don’t have special privileges. In China, no person can be above the law!”