Li Guanfeng (also known as Li Tianyi), the 17-year-old son of famed army singers Li Shuangjiang and Meng Ge, was sentenced to ten years in prison for gang rape in a case that has attracted widespread attention and outrage inside China. The South China Morning Post reports:
The Haidian District People’s Court in Beijing found Li, who was formerly know as Li Tianyi, along with four other young men guilty of forcibly taking a woman surnamed Yang from a bar in the university district to a hotel room, where they raped her, on February 17.
“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.
Li’s sentence is harsher than all except one of his co-defendants, because he chose not to plead guilty. 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.
[…] 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. [Source]
Internet users had speculated that Li would escape without a prison sentence. Some celebrated the verdict on Thursday.
“Ten years, that’s not bad,” posted one user of Sina Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
Others said that the sentence was too light.
“How much do other gang rapists get? In 10 years he will be released and will be considered a great boy,” said a post. [Source]
Read more about Li’s case, and about “second-generation rich,” or the offspring of China’s wealthy elite who are often viewed as being overly-privileged and badly behaved. Li was previously arrested after assaulting an elderly couple he hit while driving illegally.
The sentences for Li and his co-defendants was released via weibo by the court. From Jeremy Goldkorn on Twitter:
Li Tianyi absent from Weibo's trending list; all websites using non-searchable non-editable image of court's report http://t.co/zvxfA9nPzU
— Jeremy Goldkorn 金玉米 (@goldkorn) September 26, 2013