The 17-year-old son of a prominent Chinese military artist has been detained on suspicion of participating in a gang rape in the Chinese capital – sparking widespread public anger.
A source close to Beijing police told the South China Morning Post on Friday that Li Tianyi, also known as Li Guanfeng, was detained on Thursday night for allegedly participating in the gang rape. The source did not elaborate on the crime or its victim.
The People's Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece, reported on Friday afternoon via its Weibo social media account that five suspects, including one with the last name Li, had been detained in Beijing in the last two days in connection with an alleged gang-rape that took place on Sunday in a Beijing hotel.
Several major Chinese news portals, including Sina.com and Ifeng.com, have also confirmed Li Tianyi's detention, citing police sources and family members.
Li’s father, Li Shuangjiang, 74, is a famous singer working for the People’s Liberation Army and enjoys a non-commanding rank equivalent to major general.
News of the teenager’s arrest was re-posted thousands of times on Chinese social media and in chatrooms on Friday, with many netizens angrily denouncing the behaviour of China’s privileged classes.
In recent years, a spate of high-profile criminal cases involving privileged children of government and Communist Party officials and rich businessmen often stoked public anger, especially after reports that some of the offenders got lenient treatment due to the influence of powerful family members.
This is not the younger Li’s first brush with the law. In 2011, at the age of 15, he was sentenced to a year in a youth reformation centre after he and another young friend assaulted a couple near his Beijing home. This incident occurred after a minor collision between their cars. Li was driving a souped-up BMW without a licence because he was too young to drive.