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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid