News / Asia

Son of Chinese General on Trial for Rape

Li Tianyi and his father Li Shuangjiang, a general of the Chinese People's Liberation Army who gained fame singing revolutionary songs, at Li Tianyi's solo concert in Beijing, August 19, 2011.
Li Tianyi and his father Li Shuangjiang, a general of the Chinese People's Liberation Army who gained fame singing revolutionary songs, at Li Tianyi's solo concert in Beijing, August 19, 2011.
VOA News
Just days after the end of the Bo Xilai trial, one of China's most public political cases in decades, another trial in Beijing is highlighting the legal troubles of China's elite.
 
On Wednesday, the teenage son of two famous People's Liberation Army singers appeared at his first hearing on charges that he participated in the gang rape of a woman in a hotel in the capital last February.

Li Tianyi and four other defendants are accused of having forced a drunk woman from a bar to a hotel for sex. After the woman refused to take off her clothes, the five men allegedly beat and raped her.

During the trial Li pleaded not guilty, saying he was drunk at the time of the alleged rape.
 
The case has sparked an outcry in China since the news media published Li's name.

Public outcry
 
Public opinion has been sharply critical of the 17-year-old, who many perceive as an out-of-control guanerdai, or “second generation official.”
 
Beijing Institute of Technology law professor Xu Xin says such public resentment is understandable, as many in China link the politically connected class to the economic inequality that weighs on the country.
 
“There are many grievances about today's society which are often directed to the corrupt and rich,” Xu said.
 
Because he is a minor and because of the sexual nature of the crime, Li's trial is not open.
 
Yet on Wednesday, many online news portals in China published real-time updates from outside the courtroom, underscoring the deep interest with which Chinese people are following the case.
 
Li's mother, Meng Ge, a famous PLA singer, arrived at the court shortly before the trial began but did not speak to journalists.
 
Li Shuangjiang, the defendant's father, is a PLA singer as well as an army general. In 2011, after his son was accused of assaulting a couple during a traffic dispute, Li Shuangjiang visited the injured couple in the hospital and apologized to them, saying he had not raised his son properly.
 
Courts in China are often pressured to rule in favor of the powerful. But some some China analysts say Li Tianyi's case might be too public for his family to intervene.
 
Zhang Ming, a political scientist at Beijing's Renmin University, says the parents' high profile might have made it easier for them to influence the court had the trial been held in a more remote location.
 
“But this trial is in Beijing, and their names have been disclosed early on,” he said. “Hot discussion among the public about the case has become a liability for Li Tianyi.”
 
In the weeks leading up to Wednesday's hearing, Li's lawyers and his mother have tried to counter mounting criticism by building up a strong public defense in the media.
 
They have said the assaulted woman was a prostitute, and they accused the bar owner of pimping and extortion.
 
As part of their effort to show that Li is innocent, they called for an open trial despite his age.
 
Before entering the courtroom Wednesday morning, the victim's lawyer, Tian Canjun, told journalists that regardless of the defense strategy, the facts and the law will establish Li's guilt or innocence.
 
Li's trial comes just days after a court in Jinan concluded the prosecution of disgraced politician Bo Xilai, accused of corruption bribes and abuse of power.
 
Unexpectedly, the court published most of the Bo trial transcripts on a microblog account, which the public and the media in China were able to check in real time.
 
Law professor Xu Xin says that if Li Tianyi's trial has similar elements of transparency, it would increase the public's trust in the courts.
 
Of the five accused of rape, only Li Tianyi's name was published.
 
“People are now thinking that the other four defendants might have even more prominent family backgrounds,” said Xu Xin.
 
Li's trial is set to end on Thursday.
 
The victim did not take part in today's proceeding and is not likely to participate Thursday. Last week she was hospitalized, and her lawyer said it was due to the stress caused by the trial.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
August 31, 2013 9:17 AM
the bar owner might have even more prominent political backgrounds said

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid