China general's son gets prison term for rape

Li Tianyi, 17, sentenced to 10 years in jail in trial that threw spotlight on lives of country's elite.

    A court in China has sentenced the teenage son of a Chinese general to 10 years in jail for rape, authorities said, after his trial threw a spotlight on the lives of China's elite.

    Li Tianyi, 17, and four other men were found guilty on Thursday of raping a woman in a Beijing hotel in February, Beijing court authorities said on a verified social media account.

    Li's father Li Shuangjiang, a military singer, holds a rank equivalent to general in China's army.

    The case drew widespread scrutiny in the country, where the children of the elite are often seen as living extravagantly or above the law due to their connections. 

    The court did not state clearly how Li had pleaded during his trial last month. During the hearings, the Beijing News reported that he "did not admit to the sexual assault and did not admit to a relationship, saying he was drunk and  did not know anything" about what happened. 

    The other four defendants in the trial were sentenced to between three and 12 years in prison, the court authority said. 

    Internet users had speculated that Li would escape without a prison sentence. Some celebrated the verdict on Thursday.

    Li Tianyi had previously triggered controversy in 2011 after he and another teenager, both driving expensive cars, attacked a couple who reportedly blocked their passage, while the victims' child looked on.

    His father is dean of the music department for the Chinese army's Academy of Arts, and is known for singing patriotic songs. His mother, Meng Ge, is also a prominent singer.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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