UPDATE: On Aug 10, another female victim – an exchange student Kris met during a fanmeet in LA in 2016 – has come forward to press charges of sexual assault against him. According to some sources, Kris was widely known for exchanging contact information with young girls; some alleged victims claimed they had to turn in their mobile phones and asked to consume alcohol when they were with him.
Cases of sexual harassment and rape continue to mount against Chinese-Canadian pop star, Kris Wu (Wu Yi Fan) who was arrested on July 31 on suspicions of rape. His arrest sent the internet – and social media – into overdrive. The person who brought the charges against him is Du Meizhu, a 19-year old influencer and university student. But the case isn’t as simple as a single charge of rape.
On July 22, Chinese police initially accused Du of accusing Wu to gain “internet fame” (based on her interview on July 18) but later confirmed that Du had had sex with Wu. This was based on the testimony by Kris’ agent who clarified that Du had been invited to Kris’ home for a so-called “casting of the female lead for a music video” on December 5 last year.
As this indirectly confirms Du’s allegations that Kris would bring young girls into his home, the police arrested Wu on Saturday (July 31), shocking everyone who’d heard about the case.
China’s #MeToo movement
The incident comes as awareness #MeToo in China has grown, especially after 2018, when women started voicing their experiences of sexual harassment, sometimes involving high-profile figures. Kris is the most powerful figure to have been brought down by sexual offense allegations in China, where it remains difficult to bring such cases to court. Since 2018, only a handful of cases alleging sexual harassment have been reported in the press in China.
Only in 2020 did Chinese legislature clearly define sexual harassment in its first civil code; in previous cases, alleged victims had to sue instead for a vague “injury of personality rights”.
The last time someone prominent was brought to court was last year, when 27-year-old screenwriter named Zhou Xiaoxuan accused Zhu Jun, a talk-show host for the national broadcaster CCTV, of making unwanted sexual advances toward her when she was an intern at the network in 2014.
Kris’ arrest is seen by many as a sign of Beijing’s determination to extend its regulatory arm to the entertainment industry, where celebrities’ staggering paychecks increasingly anger those who believe society is becoming more unequal. On July 20, CCTV sent out a Weibo post that called for “raising the bar” to become a celebrity.
The crimes and evidence
In the interview with NetEast on 18 July, she made a number of allegations against Kris, including:
- that she met Kris when she was 17, and was invited with other girls to his home, where they were pressured to drink alcohol. She woke up in his bed the next day.
- that Kris had coerced teenage girls – two of the victims were minors (age of consent in China is 14, under-18s are considered minors) – into having sex with him by promising lucrative opportunities in the entertainment industry which never materialised
- that she knew at least seven other victims
- that Kris would pay other women he had slept with to introduce him to more girls
- that she was paid 500,000 yuan to “keep quiet”
About 24 other women have since come forward with their own allegations against Kris since then. Following the interview, Du wrote a couple of posts after receiving tremendous backlash from his fans and netizens.
The specifics of the case haven’t been made public, although Chinese media have been sharing updates which they claimed were from those privy to the situation. It was widely reported that Kris used a new type of drug nicknamed ‘guai guai shui’ (aka ‘obedient water’) to render victims immobile.
A digital forensics team allegedly managed to uncover deleted messages between Kris and his associates – one of the messages retrieved was a video of an unconscious young girl being dragged into Kris’ hotel room where she was allegedly raped by him. She was also thought to be a 13-year-old fan from Shanghai.
Among the charges against Kris were unauthorised filming of sexual acts, bribery, gang rape, date rape, and drug abuse. Kris has denied all the allegations, and prior to the arrest, his management team accused Du of fabricating the story and said they were taking legal action.
The bonkers story about the string of posts
Before the interview, Du apparently made a series of posts on Chinese social networks in July, accusing the 30-year-old Kris of preying on young fans. But as it turns out, not all the posts were genuine – she had intentions of publishing an exposé about Kris to increase her online popularity, and was helped by someone to write the posts which were published from July 16 onwards.
As this was going on, a man named Liu saw an opportunity to extort 6 million yuan from both Kris and Du (and Kris’ mom) – by pretending to be 3 different people!
Using the public information, Liu pretended to be one of Kris’ victimised women, and then gathered more information from Du in order to extort 3 million yuan from Kris’ lawyer – while posing as Du.
He then pretended to be Kris’ lawyer to extort 3 million yuan from Du! He also tried to get the same amount of money from Kris’ mom – by pretending to be Du – who actually transferred 500,000 yuan to the real Du’s account.
As he didn’t receive anything, he tried to extort both Kris’ lawyer and Du again, and was successful at getting 180,000 yuan from Du. However, Kris’ mom made a police report about her extortion, and Liu was arrested on Jul 18.
JJ Lin threatens legal action on netizens linking him with Kris’ scandal
Singaporean pop star JJ Lin has taken swift legal actions against 27 netizens from various platforms, including Weibo, Baidu, and WeChat, for falsely accusing him and Taiwanese singer Wilber Pan were involved in Kris Wu’s sex scandal. Wilber Pan’s studio posted a similar legal statement on Weibo on Monday (2 August), with 11 users across Weibo, Douban and other platforms identified.
Among the accusers is 23-year-old Chinese actor-singer Xie Minghao, who used his studio’s Weibo account to accuse JJ Lin and Wilber Pan of doing drugs and raping young women with Kris Wu. Xie, who’s been known for spreading fake news to increase his popularity, even urged the Chinese police to take actions against them.
Kris erased from Chinese social media
After Kris was arrested, almost all traces of the singer seem to have disappeared from Chinese social media. Weibo had removed his Weibo account, which had more than 50 million followers, as well as the account of his studio. The Weibo administrator announced that in order to “curb irrational behaviour and stop extreme speech” in the wake of Wu’s detention, it had shut down 108 discussion threads and 789 groups, as well as 990 accounts including those of celebs who defended Kris.
Netizens have commented that the actions from this scandal have been unprecedented – other scandal-hit celebrities in the past were never removed from social media, only blacklisted. In addition, almost of Kris’ songs have also been taken down from several Chinese online platforms.
The sponsor backlash
Kris had represented brands such as Louis Vuitton, Porsche, and Bulgari, but they have since severed their ties with him, along with Shanghai cosmetics brand Kans and detergent brand Liby. Skincare brand Kiehl’s and snack brand Bestore removed mentions of Kris on their Weibo pages, while TV programme Ethereal Sound said that it would no longer work with him, according to Global Times.
His wax statue at the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Shanghai was also removed.
Punishments Kris could face
As the list of Kris’ alleged crimes grows, Chinese lawyers have weighed in on the possible sentences he would face should he be found guilty. He’d have to serve a minimum of a three to 10 year jail sentence even the lawyers have a strong defense, and if he’s found guilty of sexually assaulting minors or sexually assaulted multiple victims, he could be sentenced to life imprisonment or be given the death sentence.
Some have called for Kris to quit entertainment and leave the country. If there’s a jail sentence, he’d likely be deported from China after serving time and barred from entering the country for life.
His Canadian citizenship would not grant him any leniency as the crimes were committed on Chinese soil.
Who is Kris Wu?
Kris Wu shot to fame when he was a member of the popular K-pop group EXO when it first formed in 2012, when he leader of the group’s Chinese subunit, EXO-M. He left the group in 2014 and went to China to strike out on his own as a singer and actor. His departure was also a bit of a scandal, as he accused SM Entertainment (the management company for EXO) of mistreating their artists which resulted in serious health issues; Kris had to take medication as he was diagnosed with myocarditis.
In some news reports, Kris has been identified as an ex-EXO member, much to the chagrin of EXO-Ls (fans of EXO), since he’s not been part of the group for over 6 years.
What happens next?
It was reported that some of Kris Wu’s fans were still defending the singer – they were seen gathering at the detention centre, begging for the singer to be released and even offered themselves in exchange for Kris Wu’s freedom.