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A Beijing court sentenced Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu to 13 years in prison on charges of multiple sexual offenses, a verdict that was welcomed by women’s rights advocates in what’s considered to be one of China’s most prominent #MeToo cases, the Washington Post reported.
The court charged Wu with rape and for organizing “lewd activities” with two women. It added that the celebrity will be deported.
Born in China and later raised in Canada, Wu began his career as part of the South Korean-Chinese boy band Exo and later went solo.
Chinese authorities detained him in 2021 following a series of allegations against the pop star. The accusations prompted many luxury brands, including French fashion label Louis Vuitton, to cut ties with him.
Wu denies any wrongdoing. Following the verdict, his lawyers said he may appeal.
The verdict is seen as a major win for women’s rights, despite China’s growing intolerance for dissent and grass-roots activism under Chinese leader, Xi Jinping. Currently, Xi is facing mass demonstrations with protestors calling for an end to the country’s strict coronavirus restrictions and even for him to step down.
Yaqiu Wang of Human Rights Watch welcomed the sentencing but said that censorship of women’s rights advocates continues in China. She noted that the prosecution against Wu was “shrouded in secrecy,” and that “some criticism of authorities’ handling of his case was scrubbed from the Chinese Internet.”