Singers' son sentenced to 10 years for rape

Updated: 2013-09-27 01:26

By CAO YIN (China Daily)

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Teen denies charge, will appeal verdict, says his legal adviser

The teenage son of a famous Chinese military singer was sentenced to 10 years in prison for gang rape after he was identified by a court as the main culprit in the case on Thursday.

Li Tianyi was earlier found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman along with four friends at a Beijing hotel on Feb 17.

Singers' son sentenced to 10 years for rape

Meng Ge, prominent singer and mother of Li Tianyi, arrives at the Beijing Haidian District People's Court on Thursday morning. Zhu Xingxin / china daily

His co-defendants, one of whom stood trial as an adult, received sentences of three to 12 years.

Li, the 17-year-old son of Li Shuangjiang, a well-known singer for the People's Liberation Army, will appeal the verdict, according to an online post by Lan He, the family's legal adviser.

A statement by Beijing Haidian District People's Court said the five had attacked the woman, identified only as Yang, 23, after a night of drinking in a bar.

The victim had intended to leave as she was being taken to a hotel in a car, but was not allowed to and was beaten. Her attackers then forced her to have sex in a hotel room.

After, Li and another defendant surnamed Wei, gave Yang 2,000 yuan ($326), the court said. She called police on Feb 19 and had slight injuries, the court said.

All five were detained on Feb 20 and charged with rape on July 8.

During the trial on Aug 28, Li denied raping Yang, claiming he was drunk and slept after reaching the hotel. His lawyers also claimed the woman was a prostitute and that the bar owner had blackmailed Li's family after the case.

But the court said the claims were short of evidence.

Under Chinese law, those convicted of gang rape should be sentenced to at least 10 years. Because four of the defendants are minors, the punishments were lenient, Fan Jun, judge of the court's juvenile department, said at a news conference after the verdicts were issued on Thursday.

The four defendants were sentenced in line with their actions, according to Fan.

"Li got the heaviest penalty among the youngsters because he was regarded as the principal in the case and didn't show remorse during the trial," he said.

The other four pleaded guilty and one had compensated the victim before the trial, which was taken into consideration for sentencing, he added.

When he was 15, Li Tianyi was involved in the serious assault of a couple over a driving dispute.

The couple reached a compensation agreement with Li Shuangjiang, and his son was required to go to a reform school for a year.

The teenager was released in September last year and changed his name to Li Guanfeng.

Watched by hundreds of journalists, the car escorting the five defendants arrived at the court on Thursday at 8:40 am, while Meng Ge, Li's mother, also an army singer, appeared about 20 minutes later.

Meng, 47, earlier said she believed her son, "with a pure heart", did not commit such a crime.

The case has been a hot issue among the public, arousing discussions over privacy protection for minors and how to educate children of celebrities.

Wu Zongxian, a law professor at Beijing Normal University, listened to the case and approved of the judgment, saying the sentences were reasonable.

"It is not only a criminal case, but also reflects some social problems," he said.