TAIPEI—China’s #MeToo advocates for accountability in instances of sexual misconduct have usually run up towards a state extra involved about stopping disturbances to public order.
Now, they see a breakthrough within the detention of one in all China’s most recognizable film stars.
Beijing police mentioned late Saturday that that they had detained
a pop star who is likely one of the nation’s best-known celebrities, for what they known as suspected rape. Authorities mentioned that they had responded to allegations that he repeatedly deceived younger girls into having intercourse with him.
The detention of Mr. Wu, a Chinese language-Canadian singer and actor who’s often known as
was broadly celebrated by Chinese language web customers and even by Communist Celebration mouthpiece Folks’s Each day, which weighed in on its social-media account saying the extra well-known somebody is, the extra self-discipline they need to train.
Earlier than the police announcement, Mr. Wu denied the allegations and mentioned he would willingly go to jail in the event that they have been true. A rape conviction in China normally leads to between three and 10 years of jail. His lawyer and administration firm didn’t reply to requests for remark Sunday.
Although #MeToo accusations—concentrating on highly effective males alleged to have taken benefit of their positions to abuse girls—have unfold all over the world since gaining traction within the U.S. 4 years in the past, the motion has met resistance from the Chinese language authorities, which is cautious that grassroots advocacy would possibly disturb public order and convey down folks in energy.
Official phrase of the police detention, introduced on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform, obtained greater than 1 million likes and appeared to supply a way of catharsis after allegations about Mr. Wu’s conduct started piling up in June and July.
On July 8,
took to Weibo to accuse Mr. Wu of intoxicating after which having intercourse together with her in December, when she was an 18-year-old school pupil. Ms. Du alleged that Mr. Wu lured different girls with the prospect of publicity within the leisure business and gave some the impression he needed thus far them.
Ms. Du sparked a public furor towards Mr. Wu, together with from no less than 4 girls who equally accused Mr. Wu of wooing them dishonestly.
Meantime, the July 8 publish that originally detailed Ms. Du’s allegations has since disappeared from her account, for causes that couldn’t be decided. Ms. Du didn’t reply to requests for remark Sunday.
Mr. Wu first shot to fame as a member of the South Korean-Chinese language boy band EXO. As he made his title lately as a solo artist and as a star in mainland Chinese language field workplace hits, his social-media following on Weibo climbed to greater than 51 million followers.
Mr. Wu was employed because the face of high-profile world manufacturers, however in current weeks, as Ms. Du’s allegations got here to mild, lots of them, together with Louis Vuitton, Porsche, Bulgari and Lancôme, severed their relationships with him.
It’s uncommon for Chinese language authorities to maneuver towards somebody so excessive profile for allegations of sexual harassment, not to mention in such a public trend.
In one other carefully watched sexual misconduct case involving a tv information anchor and a former intern named
authorities initially tried to silence Ms. Zhou, sending police to go to her dad and mom.
Ms. Zhou sued the anchor in 2018, however courtroom trial proceedings have dragged on with no verdict. Earlier this month, Ms. Zhou’s Weibo account, the place she shared information about her case and infrequently voiced help for ladies’s rights, was suspended for breaking the platform’s guidelines. Weibo didn’t reply to a request for remark.
China’s #MeToo advocates consider Ms. Zhou’s case is especially delicate as a result of the accused host works for state broadcaster Chinese language Central Tv. She says the host forcibly groped and kissed her, whereas he says he by no means touched her.
Mr. Wu, in contrast, isn’t immediately tied to the state and is a Canadian citizen—the latter level being one which Chinese language web customers, in addition to Folks’s Each day, have performed up.
Some on-line commenters have known as for Beijing to not solely ship Mr. Wu again to Canada however to trade him for
the Huawei Applied sciences Co. chief monetary officer who has been caught in Canada for greater than two years as she fights an extradition request from the U.S. Justice Division.
Mr. Wu’s detention comes as Chinese language authorities rein in sky-high paychecks within the leisure business and examine potential tax fraud, extramarital affairs, drug use and different alleged misconduct.
A few of the early response to allegations towards Mr. Wu got here from Chinese language Communist Celebration-backed Authorized Each day and the social-media account of the get together’s Youth League, which urged calm, calling for the case to be settled by regulation fairly than by on-line public opinion.
Beijing police first mentioned on July 22 that they have been investigating Mr. Wu, and had already confirmed some particulars, together with intercourse between him and Ms. Du at a work-related occasion at Mr. Wu’s residence, the place folks have been ingesting.
Saturday’s announcement of Mr. Wu’s detention sparked a celebratory response on China’s carefully regulated web, the place feedback supporting girls’s rights are sometimes censored. Replies to Saturday’s police announcement praised authorities’ motion and Ms. Du’s bravery.
“It’s lastly right here,” learn one remark, whereas one other learn: “The police have labored exhausting. Thanks to your justice. Cling in and don’t let go.”
Indicators of on-line help for Mr. Wu have been scarce, though some known as on folks to attend for the outcomes of the official investigation earlier than coming to any judgment.
Lü Pin, a Chinese language girls’s rights activist, mentioned Mr. Wu’s detention was stunning, given Chinese language authorities’ traditional reluctance to analyze rape allegations introduced by girls, significantly when the accused and accuser know one another. Ms. Du in her account mentioned that she and Mr. Wu had dated for a brief interval after the alleged rape incident. She mentioned she later got here to consider courting her was a part of his technique to trick her.
“If police don’t examine, there’s little or no victims can do,” mentioned Ms. Lü. “That’s why this can be a large encouragement to girls.”
Ms. Zhou, the previous CCTV intern, mentioned in an interview Sunday that she has been inspired by the bravery of girls who’ve come ahead towards Mr. Wu.
“Increasingly more individuals are prepared to specific their belief in girls in public,” she mentioned.
—Qianwei Zhang and
contributed to this text.
#MeToo in China
Extra WSJ protection of the ladies’s rights motion, chosen by the editors.
Write to Chao Deng at Chao.Deng@wsj.com
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