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  • Apr 19, 2014
  • Updated: 2:44pm
NewsChina Insider
CRIME

Son of famed Chinese PLA singers jailed for 10 years for gang rape

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 September, 2013, 9:30am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 September, 2013, 8:40am
 

Poll

  • Yes: 26%
  • Too lenient: 70%
  • Too harsh: 4%
27 Sep 2013
  • Yes
  • Too lenient
  • Too harsh
Total number of votes recorded: 515

A court in Beijing found Li Guanfeng, the 17-year-old son of prominent military artist Li Shuangjiang, guilty on Thursday of charges of gang-raping a woman earlier this year and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.

The verdict is likely to bring an end to more than six months of intense scrutiny of Li’s lifestyle, which triggered a wider debate about privilege and special treatment reserved for the offspring of senior officials.

The Haidian District People’s Court in Beijing found that on February 17, Li and four other young men had forcibly taken a part-time student from a bar in the capital's university district to a hotel room, where they beat and raped her.

"Li and the others dragged [the victim] into the hotel room and asked her to undress. When she refused, they punched and kicked her and took off her clothes by force," the verdict said.

"Then Li and others raped her, one after the other, with simultaneous obscene acts by certain defendants."

“In the course of committing the crime they have performed obscene acts to the victim, which should be seen as part of the criminal act of gang rape and have been put into consideration when determining the level of punishment,” according to verdict shared on the microblog of the Beijing judiciary.

The court said it had taken Li's age into account in sentencing him, but determined he led the attack and was the first to rape the girl.

"He played a bigger role than the others and refused to admit his guilt," said the findings, which were published on a court website.

Another defendant surnamed Wang, the only one of them who was an adult when the crime was committed, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The other three received jail sentences of between three and four years. 

Li's father, 74-year-old Li Shuangjiang, is a household name in China, a successful singer and art educator working the People's Liberation Army. He enjoys a non-combat rank generally believed to be equivalent to that of a major general. However, at the order of top leader Xi Jinping in late August, the PLA issued strict new guidelines banning military artists like Li from associating themselves with military ranks.

The Li family and their lawyers had in recent months spread information about the victim and the owner of the bar, where Li met the woman, to journalists in efforts to discredit their testimony ahead of the trial. Li's mother, Meng Ge, in a last statement ahead of the verdict said that the court should consider that the victim was a bar girl paid to have drinks with customers. The court ruled that her profession "had no direct relationship" to the charges.  

Li’s lawyer Lan He told journalists outside the court on Thursday ahead of the verdict that Li would appeal the sentence.

Three of the other defendants have paid the victim each 150,000 yuan in compensation. The civil lawsuit will be heard after the criminal trial, which ended on Thursday.

In an online discussion after the trial, leading judge Qin Shuo addressed speculation that Li had misled the court about his true age in order to ensure a more lenient sentence.

Ge marshalled huge resources in defence of her son, inviting 12 leading lawyers to discuss the case. She pushed for an open trial and petitioned the Public Security Ministry on August 19.

Chen Youxi , a top lawyer, said the prosecution evidence was not strong enough and Li stood a good chance of winning his appeal.

Li has been in the public eye since childhood, when he performed patriotic songs with his famous father. His mother Meng Ge is also a well-known singer for the People’s Liberation Army.

In September 2011 Li gained a more notorious prominence, when he attacked a couple after his unlicensed BMW crashed into their car and they tried to stop him from fleeing the scene. That assault landed him in a juvenile correctional facility for a year.

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This article is now closed to comments

ddc0419
This is certainly a vivid example of a spoiled child in the context of the privileged class in the so-called Communist China. Very sad to see such a light sentence. In Singapore, Li & the other culprit would be canned to make sure they have learnt their lesson. We are glad to see the new China leaders are determined to overhauled the whole corrupted system in China. We look forward to a better and more civilised China in the years or generations to come under the current leaders with integrity and of high quality of value to treat the people better. Cheers to Premier Xi & President Li.
XYZ
Raping a woman? I'd say 10 years, minimum. Leading a gang rape, as he did? I'd say 15 years, minimum.
Camel
Well, he deserves it and he should rot in there. But when I see todays poll and over 70pct think that the sentence is too lenient then you should ask what he would have got wherever else (USA, Europe, Australia). In the USA you spend only 30 days for raping a teenager and in Germany raping with force of violence is sentenced with 2 to 5 years. France, Britain almost the same. So, the question is, where they got the comparison that the sentence is too lenient?
lamlm38
the 'general' should have taken him out to family backyard and shot him!!! what a waste of space in this world!!!
chuchu59
He deserves every bit of the sentence. He prolonged the anguish of the victim and her family by continuing to deny the crime committed despite the overwhelming evidence. His cronies even suggested it was simply him and others 'taking turns to have sex'. These high-ranking officials must learn from this. Are they helping their children or leading them to ruin?
John Adams
Why are SCMP comments allowed on this case but they are blocked on the Berlusconi / Tsang / Pope case ?
SCMP Editor - are you reading this ?
jayb
he should be sent to Pelican Bay and learn about sex crime.
caractacus
"The other three received jail sentences of between three and four years." ??? These sentences are exceptionally mild even by Western and HK standards, considering the victim was not only gang raped but also subjected to obscene and degrading humiliation.
jayb
1. according to UK MOJ, the "average" sentencing for rape charge is 8 yrs in UK which according to MOJ, is heavier than manslaughter.
2. rape is already the ultimate form of obscene and humiliation. your statement doesn't make sense as there is no kinder, gentler rape. rape is rape.
jwktse
The sentence of 10 years is not enough and we want to make sure he goes to a real jail cell not some house arrest! The mother is a disgrace trying to defend her son and his father is a joke, those type of singers don't contribute anything to society much less the military.

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