Police in Beijing have detained Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu on suspicion of rape.
Wu’s detention on Saturday came after a 19-year-old student accused the singer of date-raping her when she was 17.
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The claim prompted widespread condemnation of Wu on Chinese social media and resulted in several luxury brands dropping deals with him. The 30-year-old star denies the claims.
Police in Beijing said in a statement that Wu was “criminally detained” on suspicion of rape “in response to relevant information reported on the internet” including that he “repeatedly lured young women to have sexual relations”.
The statement gave no further details.
News of Wu’s detention was trending as the most searched topic on Weibo on Saturday night, and some users online started commenting on Wu’s social media account, telling him to “get out of China”.
Wu also holds Canadian citizenship, according to the police.
The official paper of the Communist Party, the People’s Daily, weighed in on the case, saying in a short opinion post online that “Having a foreign nationality is not a protective talisman, and no matter how big the name is, there is no immunity.”
Wu originally shot to fame as a member of the K-pop boyband EXO, before leaving in 2014 to launch a successful solo career as a singer, actor, model and variety show judge.
The teenager publicised her accusations against him on social media last month and later in an interview with the internet portal NetEase.
According to the interview, she thought she was meeting Wu for a career opportunity. Instead, his staff who was present forced her to drink. As someone who did not go to bars, she said her tolerance was low and she was drunk after two drinks. The next day, she woke up in Wu’s bed. That morning, he was kind to her and promised to take care of her, she said.
The teenager said that was the beginning of what she had thought was their relationship. This was the case until March when he stopped returning her messages.
At first, she said she felt sorry for herself. But after she learned that there were other women who had been treated similarly, she said she felt there were others who were worse off.
“I don’t believe this is just my own personal matter. You can even say that this is a problem with the atmosphere in China’s entertainment circle,” she said in the NetEase interview.
Since her accusations, more people have spoken out online, accusing Wu’s staff of predatory behaviour such as inviting them to boozy karaoke parties.
Brands, including Louis Vuitton, Bulgari, L’Oreal Men and Porsche, last week suspended their partnerships with him as a result of the escalating fallout.
Wu, who grew up between Vancouver and Guangzhou, has denied all allegations of assault and insisted he was innocent in multiple social media statements.
The singer said on July 19 that he had met the young woman on December 5, 2020, but “I didn’t force her to drink,” and “there was not this sort of ‘details’ she describes”.
“I have never ‘coerced women into sex’ or engaged in ‘date rape’,” he wrote, adding that he does not sleep with underage girls.
Wu’s studio also published a lengthy response to the teenager’s claims, denying any wrongdoing and alleging that she tried to extort his staff for millions of yuan and falsified her accusations.
When the claims surfaced, luxury firm Bulgari said it “attaches great importance to the incident relating to Kris Wu and decided to terminate all related collaborations with Wu from today”.
His lawyers are suing the teenager for defamation.
The student has said she is also taking legal action against Wu and said the star had attempted to buy her silence with 500,000 yuan ($77,100).