Chinese court rejects Canadian pop star Kris Wu’s appeal

BEIJING (Reuters) -A court in China’s capital Beijing on Friday denied the appeal of Chinese-born Canadian pop star Kris Wu, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison for crimes including rape.

The former member of K-pop group EXO returned to China in 2014, where he built a lucrative career. In 2017 Wu made his Hollywood debut in the film “XXX: Return of Xander Cage”.

“Wu violated the will of women and took advantage of the drunkenness of multiple victims to have sexual relations with them. His behaviour constituted the crime of rape,” the court said in a statement.

Wu, 33, was detained in July 2021 after an 18-year-old Chinese student publicly accused him of inducing her and other girls, some younger than 18, to have sex with him.

Affirming the trial court’s ruling, Beijing No. 3 Intermediate People’s Court ruled that Wu gathered a crowd to engage in lewd activities and was the ringleader, therefore his behaviour constituted the crime of group licentiousness.

His close relatives and officials from the Canadian embassy in China attended the verdict announcement.

Wu, who could not be contacted, has previously denied the accusation. Reuters did not have access to his relatives or his legal representatives for comment.

“The Government of Canada is aware that a final decision was rendered in the case,” said Jeremie Berube, spokesperson at Global Affairs Canada, which manages the government’s diplomatic and consular relations.

Consular officials have been actively engaged on Wu’s case and are providing consular assistance to him and his family, Berube said in a statement to Reuters.

The Canadian government said in July that its diplomats had been denied access to the start of Wu’s appeal trial. Beijing said it notified the embassy of the appeal trial in advance but it was not open to the public to protect the privacy of the victims.

At the time of his detention, Wu was an ambassador for 15 brands, including Bulgari, Lancome, Louis Vuitton and Porsche, all of which immediately severed ties with him.

(Reporting by Ella Cao, Ryan Woo and Casey Hall; Editing by Jamie Freed and William Mallard)