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Kris Wu’s defenders proclaim his innocence on sex charges that led to 13-year jail term

Kris Wu by Waffles Club
Canadian Kris Wu's arrest in China came just as a British Columbia Supreme Court extradition hearing of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was approaching a climax. Photo by Waffles Club.

Something unusual happened after I wrote an article about a Canadian sentenced to jail in China.

Many notifications poured into my Twitter feed claiming that Chinese police had framed Kris Wu, whose Chinese name is Wu Yi Fan (吴亦凡). On November 25, a Beijing court ordered the singer, actor, and model to spend 13 years in prison for rape and other sex offences.

The Guangzhou-born Wu attended schools in Vancouver from the ages of 10 to 18.

However, the flurry of notifications did not come from Canada, Rather, many appeared to have originated in Asia, including from Iran and Indonesia, as well as the Far East.

Wu burst to fame with the Chinese-Korean boy band Exo after passing an audition in Vancouver. He quit in 2014 but remained wildly popular in China, especially after embarking on a movie and modelling career.

As a result, he attracted more than 51 million Weibo followers until his account was cancelled. Below, you can see Wu perform before he disappeared from the Chinese media.

Social media influencer alleged rape

On July 31, 2021, police took Wu into custody in Beijing.

This came after a social-media influencer alleged that Wu had raped her in his home. The woman, who posted under the name Du Meizhu, also claimed that she was 17 years old at the time of the assault.

Moreover, she insisted that Wu committed the offence after forcing her to drink alcohol. Later she maintained that others had come forward with similar allegations.

On August 16, 2021, the prosecutor’s office in the Chaoyang district of Beijing issued a statement revealing Wu’s arrest for suspected rape.

Since then, global brands such as Louis Vuitton and Bulgari have dropped him.

Meanwhile, Wu’s defenders on social media point to an associate of Du Meizhu, Le En, who has publicly contradicted her story on social media.

There have also been allegations over social media about the source and reliability of Du Meizhu’s posts.

One particularly vocal Wu defender has alleged that Wu’s problems began after his company released the single “Soar” on May 27, 2021. Immediately afterward, according to this Wu fan account, rumours surfaced about Wu’s propensity for underage girls. Much was made about his age difference with a female he went on a date with to a movie theatre.

That same account alleged that the cinema owner was later videotaped with Wu’s accuser. suggesting something was amiss about this.

Pancouver cannot independently verify the truth of what’s being said about the case over social media.

Meng Wanzhou/China News Service/YouTube
Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was in the midst of an extradition hearing in B.C. when Wu was charged. Photo by China News Service/YouTube.

Timing coincided with Meng extradition hearing

Another defender of Wu in Portugal believes that the arrest was linked to the extradition case against Meng Wanzhou in B.C. Supreme Court.

In fact, Wu’s detention did not begin with the extradition hearing of Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei, who was charged in the U.S. in 2018. Wu’s arrest actually occurred as this case was approaching a climax.

Here is the sequence of events:

On December 1, 2018, Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on a provisional U.S. warrant. The U.S. Justice Department alleged that she had committed bank fraud, among other crimes. Under a treaty with Canada, an extradition hearing would be held in a superior court.

On July 9, 2021, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes ruled against Meng’s defence team entering new evidence.

In the following few weeks, the relationship between China and Canada deteriorated to its lowest point in 50 years as it appeared as though Meng might be sent to the United States to face trial.

On August 9, 2021, a Chinese court dismissed Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg’s appeal of his death sentence on a drug conviction.

The next day, Canadian businessman Michael Spavor was convicted on espionage charges in China.

Then on August 11, all federal party leaders called for the release of Spavor, who had received an 11-year sentence.

It’s in this period that Wu was in custody in China, with the prosecutor’s statement going out on August 16, 2021.

On August 17, 2021, Meng’s lawyers completed their arguments in B.C. Supreme Court.

Meng case ends with deferred-prosecution deal

On  September 24, 2021, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and Spavor were released from Chinese jails and allowed to fly back to Canada. This came after the U.S. withdrew its extradition order, resulting in the B.C. Supreme Court agreeing to a discharge order.

Wu remained in jail. Meng, on the other hand, was allowed to return to China as part of a deferred-prosecution agreement in which she acknowledged that she had made false statements.

The Canadian government has not linked Wu’s case to that of the Huawei executive.

Update

Following publication of this article, an account identified as “Tiger Ayers” tweeted the following message:

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.