HONG KONG — Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu was sentenced to 13 years in prison for rape and other sexual offenses, a Chinese court said on its official Weibo account on Friday (Nov. 25).
The Chaoyang District People’s Court in Beijing said that from November to December 2020, Wu, also known as Wu Yifan, raped three women at his home when they were under the effect of alcohol.
Wu was sentenced to 11.5 years for rape and 22 months for “assembling a crowd to engage in promiscuous activities” in July 2018, according to the Weibo post. Wu, who is a Canadian citizen, will serve a 13-year term in China before being deported.
“Justice was delayed, but now it’s here,” Du Meizhu, the Chinese influencer who blew the whistle on Wu, wrote on Weibo after the announcement.
Born in China and raised in Canada, Wu was a former member of the popular K-pop group EXO before returning to China to pursue his solo career in 2014.
Wu was detained in Beijing in July last year and was formally arrested on suspicion of rape in August, after the then-18-year-old Du accused him of luring her and other underaged girls into having sex under the pretense that they would be promised an acting career. The closed-door trial began in Beijing in June.
The sexual assault allegations against Wu prompted widespread criticism and became one of the most high-profile #MeToo cases in China.
Wu was also ordered to pay a 600 million yuan ($83.5 million) fine for hiding personal income through domestic and foreign affiliated enterprises, local taxation authorities said on their website.
Wu’s scandal came at a time when Chinese internet and media regulators have pledged to silence “unhealthy” online fan groups and crack down on “tainted artists” who have used drugs, visited prostitutes or broken the law, from all forms of broadcast.
Artists in China have been under great pressure to refrain from “immoral conduct,” which includes acts as minor as smoking or having tattoos.
Under public pressure from the sex-crimes allegations, some 20 brands — including Lancôme, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari and Porsche — cut ties with Wu last year. Chinese music streaming platforms, including Tencent’s QQ Music and NetEase Cloud Music, pulled his songs, and his Weibo social media account, where he had over 51 million followers, was taken down shortly after his detention.
Wu’s former group, EXO, became one of the most successful boy bands of South Korea, selling over 1.4 million albums in their first year, according to its label, SM Entertainment, and performed sold-out gigs around the world.
He has also starred in films and appeared as a judge on The Rap of China, a popular reality television program. By 2017, Wu was named Forbes’ 10th most influential Chinese celebrity of the year, with an annual income of 150 million yuan ($23 million).
In 2018, Wu signed with Universal Music to distribute his music in global territories besides Japan and South Korea. His debut studio album, Antares (2018), knocked Ariana Grande off the U.S. iTunes music charts and was platinum-certified in China. It peaked at No. 100 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, while the single “Like That” rose to No. 73 on the Billboard Hot 100. (Each lasted one week on the charts.)
Wu’s contract with Universal expired in March 2021 and the label has not renewed it.