The teenage son of a renowned Chinese general and four other men pled not guilty to gang-rape as their trial began in Beijing yesterday.
Because the case involved juveniles, the trial at the Haidian District People’s Court was held in private.
Li Tianyi, 17, the son of 74-year-old Li Shuangjiang, denied beating up or having sex with a woman surnamed Yang, saying he was drunk and had lost consciousness at the time, The Beijing News reported.
Li and his co-accused are charged with raping Yang at a Beijing hotel in February.
The 17-year-old’s father holds the rank of general as dean of the music department for the Chinese army’s Academy of Arts. He is famed for singing patriotic anthems for the People’s Liberation Army and starring in scores of television galas.
His mother Meng Ge, also a prominent singer, arrived at the court yesterday morning but did not answer questions from journalists.
Lawyers for the accused told the court that police had lured their clients to make confessions, according to news portal Sina.
One of the accused, a 23-year-old surnamed Wang, said they were just paying for sex, the Beijing Evening News reported. Another, surnamed Wei, told the court that Li had slapped Yang in face and kicked her, the newspaper said.
Li’s mother took exception to this, the newspaper reported, and she accused Wei’s lawyer Li Zaike of persuading Wei to target her son.
Wei’s lawyer and Li’s lawyer Chen Shu said they had not negotiated with each other about the case, but both were pleading not guilty on behalf of their clients.
Li Zaike said earlier that Yang, an office worker, had taken a part-time job in a bar “which she shouldn’t have accepted” to make extra cash.
As a 23-year-old adult, she didn’t deserve sympathy because to some extent, she “harmed” underage boys, Li Zaike added.
Tian Canjun, Yang’s lawyer, said her client was in hospital and under immense psychological pressure so wouldn’t be taking part in the trial. But she said Yang didn’t understand the definition of “bar girls.”
Yang told police she was taken to a hotel and gang-raped after drinking with the men in a bar on February 17.
Zhang Guangyao, 22, the bar manager, who had been accused by Meng of pimping and extortion, was in court.
Earlier, it had been reported he had asked Yang to entertain Li and his friends.
“I failed to protect her. Her face was black and blue when she told me what happened the next day. I appeared at court in order to make atonement,” he said.
The trial continues today.