BEIJING (AP) — The son of a well-known Chinese general was indicted Monday on charges of taking part in a gang rape in a case certain to fuel public anger at abuses by the wealthy and privileged.
Seventeen-year-old Li Tianyi and four others face trial over the incident that allegedly took place at a Beijing hotel in February, according to the website of the official People’s Daily newspaper and other state media.
It appears Li is being charged as an adult, although calls to the prosecutors’ office in Beijing’s Haidian district rang unanswered. If convicted, he could serve from three to 10 years, although the law allows for harsher punishment if the case is considered especially serious.
The baby-faced, slightly pudgy Li is the son of Li Shuangjiang, 72, a general famed for crooning patriotic anthems for the People’s Liberation Army and a star of numerous television galas.
The rape charges aren’t the younger Li’s first brush with the law. He was sentenced to a year in detention in 2011 as a 15-year-old for attacking a couple over a minor traffic dispute and threatening onlookers, in a case that attracted widespread condemnation online.
Li, who was allegedly illegally driving a souped-up BMW at the time, was ridiculed in the media as a spoiled brat and his father was forced to make a public apology for failing to check his son’s bad behavior.
Amid anger over corruption and a widening wealth gap, many Chinese have become increasingly impatient with the antics of the “wealthy second generation” seen as using their parents’ money and connections to avoid repercussions for illegal or outrageous behavior.