Police in China Detain Canadian Pop Star Kris Wu on Suspicion of Rape
Beijing police said on Saturday they arrested Kris Wu, a popular Chinese Canadian singer, on suspicion of rape amid a #MeToo controversy that sparked outrage in China.
Police have not provided details of their investigation of Mr. Wu. But it comes weeks after an 18-year-old college student in Beijing accused him of seducing young women like her with the promise of career opportunities and then push them to have sex.
Known in China as Wu Yifan, Mr. Wu, 30, is the most prominent figure in China to be detained over #MeToo allegations.
He rose to fame as a member of Korean pop group EXO, and then began a successful solo career as a model, actor and singer. Although he denied the allegations when they first appeared, they sparked an uproar that led at least a dozen companies, including Bulgari, Louis Vuitton and Porsche, to sever ties with the singer.
The Chaoyang District branch of the Beijing police said in a social media statement on Saturday evening that it had investigated accusations posted online that Mr. Wu “repeatedly misled young women in sexual relations “. He said that Mr. Wu was detained while the criminal investigation was continuing.
Mr. Wu’s accuser Du Meizhu has publicly stated that when she first met Mr. Wu in December last year, she was taken by the singer’s agent to her home in Beijing. for work-related discussions. She said she was forced to drink cocktails until she passed out and was later in bed.
They dated until March, according to his account of events, when he stopped answering his calls and messages. She also said she believed he was targeting other young women.
Mr. Wu’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Ms. Du could not be reached.
It was not immediately clear whether the police were specifically investigating Ms. Du’s allegations. In a statement in July, police released what appeared to be preliminary findings on Ms. Du’s allegations. Police said Ms. Du publicized her story “to improve her popularity online,” an assessment that was criticized by her supporters as a shameful victim.
The wave of support for Ms. Du was a sign that the country’s nascent #MeToo movement continues to grow despite the government’s strict limits on activism and dissent. After Ms. Du spoke out, her supporters flooded the social media pages of several brands, threatening boycotts if they did not abandon their partnerships with Mr. Wu, a campaign that quickly forced companies to distance themselves from it. him.
The charges sparked a heated debate over issues such as victim shame, consent and abuse of power in the workplace – concepts that had rarely featured in mainstream discussions before the #MeToo movement became known. global.
Chinese authorities often discourage women from filing complaints of sexual misconduct, and victims of sexual assault or harassment are frequently humiliated and even prosecuted for defamation. Censorship and limits on dissent have also hampered efforts by feminist activists to organize, even though trolls are covered to spit out abuse.
Yet the high-profile nature of the controversy has made Ms. Du’s claims impossible to ignore for Chinese authorities, who are always on the lookout for what they see as potential sources of social unrest.
The police announcement, posted on the nation’s popular social media platform Weibo, immediately started trending, attracting more than six million likes.
Lu Pin, a New York-based feminist activist, said Mr. Wu’s detention was a big step forward for the #MeToo movement in China.
“Whatever the motivation of the police, the mere fact that he was detained is huge,” Ms. Lu said.
“Over the past three years, a number of prominent figures have been accused of #MeToo but nothing has ever happened to them,” Ms. Lu said. “Now with Wu Yifan, #MeToo has finally eliminated someone with real power in China – it showed that no matter how powerful you are, rape is not okay. “
Mr. Wu’s detention comes amid a broader government crackdown on the entertainment industry.
In recent years, Chinese authorities have taken aggressive steps to tackle the problem of industry-wide tax evasion and to cap the salaries of the country’s biggest movie stars. In June, the country’s internet watchdog began cracking down on what it called the country’s “chaotic” online celebrity fan clubs, which the government sees as a growing source of volatility in public opinion. public.
People’s Daily, the spokesperson for the ruling Communist Party, described Mr. Wu’s detention as a warning to celebrities that neither celebrity nor foreign citizenship would protect them from the law.
“A foreign nationality is not a talisman. No matter how famous you are, there is no immunity, ”the propaganda outlet wrote. “Remember: the higher the popularity, the more disciplined you have to be, the more popular you are, the more you have to obey the law.”
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