On Friday, a court in China sentenced Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu to 13 years in prison on a variety of charges, including rape.
Wu was sentenced to 11 years and 6 months in prison for a 2020 rape and one year and ten months in prison for the “crime of assembling a crowd to engage in sexual promiscuity” in a 2018 event in which he and others allegedly assaulted two drunken women.
According to the court, the three victims in the rape case were also inebriated and unable to consent.
It stated that a combined 13-year sentence had been agreed upon, and Wu would be deported immediately after serving his sentence.
“The court made the above judgment based on the facts… the nature, circumstances, and harmful consequences of the crime,” the court said in an online statement.
According to the report, a Canadian attache was present in court to hear the sentence.
Wu was also fined US$83.7 million for tax evasion by massively under reporting his earnings from performances, advertisements, and other sources.
To protect the privacy of the victims, the trial of the 32-year-old former member of the South Korean group EXO was closed to the public in June.
According to a police statement at the time, Wu has been detained since August 2021 while police conducted an investigation in response to comments online that he “repeatedly lured young women” to have sex.
A teen accused him of having sex with her while she was drunk that year. Wu, also known as Wu Yifan in China, denied the accusation.
The teen then claimed that seven other women contacted her after Wu allegedly seduced them with promises of jobs and other opportunities. She stated that some were under the age of 18.
Rape is punishable by three to ten years in prison, with harsher sentences of up to death in exceptional cases. Wu was charged with a second offence that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Wu was born in Guangzhou, China, and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia.
China Bans Celebrities with ‘Loose Morals’ From Endorsements
As part of an ongoing effort to align society with “core socialist values,” China has barred all celebrities from endorsing a variety of products and barred those with “lapsed morals” from endorsing anything.
The regulations, which were announced this week by state regulators, prohibit Chinese celebrities from publicly endorsing or advertising health, education, and financial products such as e-cigarettes and baby formula.
The push, according to regulators, is to ensure that China’s society is “guided by Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era,” referring to the sweeping ideology that underpins the Xi-led Communist party’s rule.
The new regulations state that “celebrities should consciously practice socialist core values in their advertising endorsement activities, and endorsement activities should conform to social morals and traditional virtues.”
It is the most recent regulatory step in a crackdown on the entertainment industry, in which celebrities have effectively been blacklisted as a result of scandals and interventions into online fandom.
Companies were also prohibited from hiring celebrities who were found to have “loose morals” or to have engaged in illegal behaviour such as tax evasion, drunkenness, drug addiction, and fraud, as well as from using images of Communist party leaders, revolutionary leaders, and heroes in their advertising.
The regulations, according to the authorities, were enacted in response to celebrities illegally or falsely endorsing “bad ideas.”
“The media is permissive, allowing illegal and immoral celebrities to participate in advertising endorsements.” According to state media, “the chaos in the field of advertising endorsements has seriously infringed on the rights and interests of consumers, disrupted market order, and polluted the social atmosphere, and people have expressed strong reactions.”
China’s government has tightened control over the country’s entertainment industry and celebrity fandom under Xi’s increasingly authoritarian rule in an attempt to reshape China’s pop culture landscape.
Authorities banned some reality TV talent shows in September 2021 and ordered broadcasters not to promote what they derogatorily referred to as “sissy” men. In an effort to control the “chaos” and monetization of online fandom, a two-month regulatory operation also prohibited the ranking of celebrities and cultural products.
In the same month, a Beijing entertainment symposium with the theme “Love the party, love the country, advocate morality and art” was told that the entertainment industry must act morally in both public and private.
The regulations, according to Zhang Guohua, president of China’s advertising association, will contribute to the industry’s “more standardized and healthy improvement.”
“This does not imply that celebrity endorsements will be restricted; rather, everyone will be more cautious, and artists will be more responsible and self-disciplined.” As long as the law is followed, celebrity endorsements will continue to take place normally within the bounds of compliance and legality, so the impact is positive,” Zhang told domestic media.
He warned those who had “enjoyed the benefits of being a public figure” to be cautious in their actions due to their influence as role models.
“With your industry status and influence, you should be cautious in your words and actions,” Zhang advised.
Celebrity scandals have rocked China’s massive entertainment industry in recent years, crossing the line of extreme political sensitivity within China.
In 2021, the actor Zheng Shuang was fined nearly 300 million RMB ($46 million) for tax evasion and barred from appearing on entertainment programs. For unknown reasons, Fendi brand ambassador Zhao Wei had her name removed from all works on major entertainment platforms around the same time.
Several companies and celebrities have also been punished for endorsing bad or fraudulent products. According to the state media outlet Global Times, standup comedian Li Dan was fined about $134,000 last year for a women’s underwear ad that was deemed insulting to women.
The new rules also demand that celebrities fully understand and have used the product they are endorsing.