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The teenage son of a popular military singer and another four suspects are to stand trial for gang rape, Beijing prosecutors said yesterday as they announced the end of their investigation into the case.|
No date has yet been set.
Four of the suspects are under the age of 18, including 17-year-old Li Tianyi, the son of Major General Li Shuangjiang, who is most known for his renditions of patriotic songs. The fifth is said to be a 23-year-old office worker.
A conviction for gang rape can lead to a sentence of at least 10 years in jail or the death penalty but there can be lighter sentences for anyone under 18.
The five suspects were detained in February after a woman alleged she had been gang raped by the group after a night of drinking.
Li was identified in the media as one of the youths involved and there was speculation that he was being named to protect the others because they were members of affluent and powerful families.
Police dismissed the allegations, saying they couldn't reveal the personal information of anyone under the age of 18. They also did not name the 23-year-old.
Li's parents were said to have tried to give him a new start in life after he had served a year in a youth reformation center for assaulting a couple after a car accident. Media reports said his parents changed his name on his release last year.
Commenting on the current case, an editorial in People's Daily said that "family education" among successful, well-known figures in China needed to be "cautious."
"Many of these children have not experienced the hard work needed in the struggle to achieve success, but are shown the results of this success," it said.
"Used to getting everything they want and having all their problems handled, they will use their father's name as an excuse, take flaunting wealth for granted and regard defying the law as brave behavior."
The case sparked countless comments online about the behavior of privileged children of officials.
And since Li was identified in the media the rumors about the case have never stopped.
One had alleged that the victim had dropped her case against Li because she could gain huge compensation, including a Beijing hukou and an apartment.
However, the man who had written the online post later admitted he had made the story up.