Beijing: The teenage son of a renowned Chinese singer and a senior General was on Thursday sentenced to 10 years in jail for his involvement in a gang-rape case, which evoked a nationwide anger.
Li Tianyi,17, son of Maj Gen Li Shuangjiang, dean of the music department of the People`s Liberation Army, (PLA) Academy of Arts was convicted along with four others by the Beijing Haidian District People`s Court in the gang rape case which drew widespread criticism about the misbehaviour by the wards of high profile Chinese politicians and officials.
While Li was convicted for 10 years, four other defendants, including three juveniles, were given prison terms ranging from three to 12 years.
The five men were detained on Feb 21 after a woman surnamed Yang reported to police that she was gang raped in a hotel after drinking with the men in a bar on Feb 17.
Li`s father Li Shuangjiang, a military singer, holds a rank equivalent to general in China`s Army.
Ahead of the trial a campaign was unleashed against the victim saying that she was a prostitute and attempts were made to make peace with monetary inducements.
During the trial which was kept in-camera junior Li pleaded innocent saying that he was drunk and was not aware of the happening around.
According to the court, the younger Li and four other defendants took Yang to a hotel room by force, beat her up and gang raped her on Feb 17.
Li and another defendant surnamed Wei gave Yang 2,000 yuan (USD 326.8) afterwards.
Yang also suffered minor injuries, according to judicial authorities.
The court held two pre-trial meetings on July 22 and Aug 20, in which lawyers for the five suspects and the victim disagreed on whether it was a gang rape or prostitution case.
Li`s mother, Meng Ge, had applied for the trial to be a
public hearing, but her application was overruled by the court as the case involves juveniles, whose privacy is protected by law, the trial should be heard in private sessions, the court said.
On Aug 28 and 29, the five defendants stood trial in court.
With the exception of Li, the four remaining suspects pleaded guilty, and three of them apologised.
The court said the defendants` behaviour did great harm to the social order, and they received different sentences because the degrees of their offences vary.
Four juvenile defendants received mitigation of punishment as they were protected by law.
Accused did not appeal the sentence in the court, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Li Tianyi had previously triggered controversy in 2011 after he and another teenager attacked a couple who allegedly blocked their passage.
He was sent to a government correctional facility for one year. Piqued by Tianyi`s behaviour Chinese President Xi Jinping gave the PLA musicians a rare public scolding accusing them of exploiting their military status for commercial purposes.
He ordered the PLA to curtail the privileges of the military as art troupes.
Significantly, Xi`s wife Peng Liyuan, a reputed singer of Chinese music is the Dean of the PLA Art Academy and also enjoys rank of a Senior General.
Under the new orders the military performers are asked not to perform in privately-funded performances and casinos, and not to take part in local TV talent shows.