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Pop star Kris Wu detained on suspicion of rape

Chinese-Canadian pop star Kris Wu has been detained by Beijing police on suspicion of rape.

The 30-year-old former member of the Korean boyband EXO had previously been accused by a teenager of having sex with her while she was drunk. Wu denied the accusation.

The teenager said seven other women contacted her to say Wu seduced them with promises of jobs and other opportunities. She said some were under 18 but gave no indication whether or not they were younger than China’s age of consent of 14.

A statement from police said that Wu had been “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”. It gave no other details.

The news was trending as the most searched topic on social media site Weibo on Saturday night, and some users online started commenting on Wu’s account, telling him to “Get out of China!”

Wu is a Canadian citizen, according to the police statement. He 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 official paper of the Chinese Communist party, the People’s Daily, weighed in on the case, saying in a short opinion post online: “Having a foreign nationality is not a protective talisman, and no matter how big the name is, there is no immunity.”

The teenager publicised her accusations on social media and later in an interview with internet portal NetEase. A day after that interview appeared, at least 10 brands including Porsche and Louis Vuitton broke off endorsement and other deals with Wu.

According to the interview, she thought she was meeting Wu for a career opportunity. Instead, his staff forced her to drink. She said that, as someone who did not go to bars, her alcohol tolerance was low and she was drunk after two drinks. The next morning, she woke up in Wu’s bed, where 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. In March, however, 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.

Wu said that he had met the young woman on 5 December 2020, but “I didn’t force her to drink,” and “there was not this sort of details she describes.”

“I didn’t expect my silence to encourage these rumours, and I couldn’t stand it!” Wu previously wrote. “There were a lot of people there that day who can bear witness.”

The teenager and Wu both said they had asked authorities to investigate.

Saturday’s statement did not mention that case and gave no information about the status of that investigation.

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