The Bo Xilai trial is certainly a hard act to follow, with its comically giant guards, political intrigue, and various love-triangles, but Li Tianyi’s high-profile gangrape trial in Beijing has succeeded in snatching the spotlight as soon as Bo was shuffled off stage. Li, the son of famous PLA singer Li Shuangjiang, is charged along with four others in the rape of a woman surnamed Yang last February.
Li Tianyi has, apparently, changed his name to Li Guanfeng since the incident, and his trial began yesterday afternoon. Li and the other four defendants have spent the past few months trying to build a case that Yang was a “bargirl” or prostitute, and that therefore it was somehow more-Ok to beat and rape her, as South China Morning Post reports:
Li’s mother Meng Ge, also a famous singer, went to police earlier this month to accuse the manager of the night club of pimping and extortion, the Beijing Times reported. She also dismissed the young woman as being a part-time club hostess, a euphemism for a prostitute.
The victim’s lawyer, Tian Canjun, who has described her as a part-time student and worker, told reporters that his client would not be attending the trial.
The Beijing Times quoted an alleged insider in telling details of the crime earlier this week. The insider claimed Li and his friends forced the victim, the drunk Ms. Yang, into a hotel room and beat her after she refused to take off her clothes. Li Tianyi was the first to rape the girl, the others followed suit without wearing condoms. They then gave Yang 2,000 yuan and left her on the side of the road. […]
Hong Daode, a professor from the China University of Political Science and Law, agreed and added that even if there was prostitution and extortion present in this case, that would be a different thing and could not change anything about Li Tianyi’s rape case.
Hong pointed out that the key part of the case is whether the girl was forced or willing to have sex with the suspects. If Yang was drunk and unconscious and the suspects nonetheless proceeded to perform sex acts with her, that would be deemed rape and, in this case, gang rape.
Yang will not be attending the trial in person. Unlike the Bo Xilai case, it is not easy to assume that Li Tianyi will be found guilty; many onlookers are concerned that, because of his influential family and celebrity-status, he may be at an unfair advantage.
[Image on Xinhua, via SCMP links via Beijing Cream]